The masked empires
A shadow clutching a small bundle runs through rain soaked streets of the large city. Hiding inside a doorway it looks downward at its small moving package. A new born babe whimpers as cold air touches it. The shadow, an old woman touches one soft palm to its face and smiles. “I am so sorry my future queen.” She whispers and sucks in a sob. Looking up at the streets now she holds back her tears. “Majesty.” She growls. The woman in black lifts an eyebrow. “Oh Margo, you are a hard mage to find.” She purrs. The old woman comes out of the doorway, the child bare but held closely to the old womans breast. “You cannot have Claire.” She says flicking out a glowing knife from her robes. With a quick movement the lade is thrown landing in the younger womans heart.
Reburta looks down at the blade and laughs. “ Your spells have no effect on your queen.” She growls pulling the blade from her chest. The old woman smiles and straightens as guard surround her. A younger maid steps forward and takes the child from the old woman. The black queen walks towards Margo an evil smirk on her face. “ I seem to have taken her from you with ease.” She says. Parting through the crowd and placing a gentle touch to her chin. “ Long live the king and queen of light!” The old woman spits.
Reburta lifting her hand away prepared to strike with her power. Her eyes open in shock upon feeling the light magic gone from her. “I’ve severed your link dearie.” The old woman says and cackles flicking another dagger to her throat. The black queen howls in fury and snatching the mad carrying her niece. “If my kingdom is to be in darkness, so shall hers!”
19 years later
He had thought the boarder was bad, but the city was much worse. Al around him and his squad was a dank shadow. The sky was blotted out by dark angry clouds that rumbled with thunder. “It stinks.” Kale says to his second in command. “Captain you know well of these peoples trials.” A man replies looking at Kale with a slight smirk. Kale laughs. “Aye indeed.” He chottles. “Ram,” he says to the other man upon spotting the horror before them.
The large castle had once been beautiful. Large cracks in the stone work told of the neglect it had suffered through the years. It’s courtyard, once a large garden now lie shriveled and dry. “They say this land is cursed.” Kam tells Kale who rode his black mare to the stalls. “Such things are rumors meant to put fear in a man’s bones.” Kale replies getting off the mare and shaking out his uniform. “Well, we can get this going and then head home, I hate this blasted thing.” He growls in his gruff voice. Ram a man of 30 laughs at his old friend, “You hate any type of thing!” He says hopping of his horse and cracking his back.
Kale blinks a few times as a priest dressed in black approached them. “His lordship and lady await your arrival captain.” He almost whispers. Kale squints his eyes and looks at his friend ram. “Tell the men to settle into the bunks.” He tells him. Ram nods shouting the order given to him. The priest steps to one side nodding to the large ornate doors.
What seemed like countless corridors they arrive in the throne room, before him sat a woman in her late forties twisting a black glass in her hand. “Captain Kale.” She sets the glass down. And straightens in the large chair. “Malady.” He bows. The queen stands the slim fitting dress flowing about her frame. Kale could feel the evil of the beautiful woman, much like a snake hidden by brush. He couldn’t help but tremble. “Our kingdom had agreed to trade with you. On what conditions I am unsure.” He manage to say. “Rise” She tells him. Kale stood looking into her swirling green eyes. He felt a knot in his gut. “Foolish, yet intriguing they didn’t tell you Captain” She practically moans in a breathy voice.
Kale sweating now from her suffocating power smiles. “Oh?” He gets out. The queen looks him over and snarls. “What is it you want now?” She snaps standing and turning suddenly. A guard comes from around the corner in his arms a young woman. Kales knees go out at her shrill voice. “Majesty, she was in the dungeons again.” He says in a high voice. The queen smiles upon seeing Kale on his knees. “Train them and teach them, soon your kingdom shall fall.” She says and steps to the guard staking the girl from his arms and setting her down. “Claire.” she says harshly to Kale and steps to the side. What he saw broke his heart.
Indeed a young woman of nineteen was being held up by long strands of the palest blond battered and bruised but her face forced behind a mask. From the mask he felt illness and woe. “Ugly isn’t she?” Says the queen. The younger woman is dropped hardly to the ground trembling. “Forgive me.” Her voice was small and soft and kale watched in horror as the girl was made to kneel. “Mother.” She whimpers. The black queen steps around her and now kneels before Kale who now only felt anger. “You will lead my kingdom and I to victory.” She says leaning forward and giving him a small peck. “And you will baby sit that thing.” She tells him swatting the air towards the princess who was now being ushered away by guards. He heard a thwack.
“You have free roam of the castle, however you will not breach the walls. And never take my daughter to the dungeon.” She says and sits down in her throne. Kale still shaking stands out of breath, he nods, rushing from the throne room. Kam had just entered when Kale came around the corner full bolt. Ram steps in front of him. “Whoa!” He says with his hands in the air. Kale stops. “Kam, the men…rally them up and set out now!” he says and pushes him aside.
He pauses in the doorway as a small voice stops him. “Mother is angry..” The princess says stepping in front of him. “Your lucky to be in front of me now, do not anger her further.” Her small voice was monotone but somehow he knew the girl had meant it as a warning. Out of breath he scoffs. “When my kingdom finds out!” he hollers. “My mother made a deal with your king and queen.” She says with sudden emotion. Anger, he felt it. Kale straightens “Why?” he whispers. As his men began to fill the courtyard. It all made sense. In that single moment he felt it, a feeling of loss and anger. “I do not know naught of loss.” The princess says taking Kales hand, “I’m sorry.” Kale looks at the shadows that were eyes, it was then that Kam came running up to them both.
“Captain, this.” He says between breaths. Kale raised a hand to him and looks down at his friend with small tears. “We are poisoned here now Kam.” He says. Kam, in shock, looks at his captain. Kale takes his friends arm and shakes his head when the man tried to speak. “Come on princess.” Kale says to Claire. “What do you mean Captain?” Kam asks looking back at the princess behind them, her head was hung low. “ Kale answer me damn it!” Kam shouts at the large man before him. Kale stops snapping around and punches him. He was about to raise his fist for another blow but stops. “Please, Kale.” He straightens offering his hand to kam. “I am sorry Kam, but” He starts to explain to Kam the reason why they had been sent here. They were a trade,” the best for the best.” Kale tells his friend. Kam steps back in horror. “But somehow my friend I will save us.” Kale says under his breath.
Night came too fast upon Kale and his men, and the weathered soldier drank this night. He glances down at his empty flask and places his head in his hands. Betrayed by his own kingdom, he felt beat down. Behind the closed door he guarded lie a sleeping princess. He winced at the memory of just allowing the poor girl to rest.
When the sun had set he had witness her trial. Two large maids had held the girl as a priest removed her porcelain mask. He had lent forward and removed her eye sash. The girl blinked at the light and Kales heart had sank as he had watched tears fall from a beautiful face. The priest takes a small knife and held her as she fought and cried out. Kale had looked away as a potion was forced to be drank by knife point. He had been the one to lay her in bed.
Kale turns looking at the door.”Shes beautiful.” Kale whispers to kam who looked at his friend. “ I assumed her ugly.” Kam says dryly, Kale shakes his head. “Look my friend, she doesn’t matter to us.” Kam says. Kale squints. “ I dun know why, let alone how but I feel otherwise.” He says.