[center A prince from a kingdom with a history of power, control, and bloodshed can only watch as the walls around him crumble and the forces which wish to crush him close in. [+ffa500 Muse A], is that Prince. A young and cold hearted ruler whose reign began in warring times and it seems it will end in them as well. It wasn’t just a rebellion of the citizens that brought [+ffa500 Muse A]’s kingdom of Chamlek to its knees, it was also the force of a neighboring realm which threats from either side had been passed and with the Rebellion building up, the outside Kingdom decided to attack, declaring war and sealing [+ffa500 Muse A]’s demise.
The neighboring realm, though a smaller territory, has many more resources and alliances then the Chamlek Kingdom has. And with the Rebellion going on, this smaller kingdom arrived with the upper hand and swiftly brought Chamlek’s fall. [+4169e1 Muse B] was the ruler of this smaller kingdom, and with the fall of Chamlek it comes as a surprise when [+ffa500 Muse A] is captured near the border having fled the capital and his home lands. [+ffa500 Muse A] still has a group of his loyal warriors spread far across his fallen kingdom, but nothing can be done now that he has been captured. Now the question’s rise about what should happen to [+ffa500 Muse A]. He isn’t a very pleasant person to have about but even with the loss of his kingdom, he still has his use. Besides his rather short life story, [+ffa500 Muse A] has some fairly interesting tales to tell, when he’s in a good mood. But there is also a rumor of a grand secret of Chamlek that only the royal family knows about and it is said to be some sort of great treasure.
It is up to [+4169e1 Muse B] to decide what happens to [+ffa500 Muse A]. Should [+4169e1 Muse B] listen to the calls for an Execution or should [+4169e1 Muse B] keep the defeated prince around as an asset for the future.
-01- This roleplay is open to any pairing. Though [+ffa500 Muse A]’s gender has already been decided, so they have to be pairings that work with that, unless it’s with two other character
-02- Make them interesting. Don't make your character flat
-04- I do not mind any posting speed as long as you don't fall off the face of the planet. Please notify me before long hiatuses. My PM box is always open!
-05- I require you be able to post at least 1000 CHARACTERS for this roleplay. I understand writer's block, but please don't be lazy. Please have a decent grasp on the English language.
-06- This is not first come first served.
[b Viewer's discretion is advised-] Mature subject matter is sure to occur. If you are not okay with discussions of drugs, violence, cursing, graphic scenes, maybe character death, or anything of that nature, then this is not the roleplay for you. That being said, any sex, if any, will be taken elsewhere if it is to occur or time skipped entirely.
[b This is a team effort-] I am not going to be the only one responsible for plot twists. If you join me in this, please be willing to contribute.
[b Fantasy-] I am fine with this just being an average fantasy world. But I am very open to suggestions!
Eric hissed when Artemis got up onto him and pinned him to the bed, pulling up on his head to make him look at her and planting her feet on his arms so he couldn’t push her off.
“Get off of me…!” Eric snarled back at her after she’d finished shouting at him. He wasn’t going to tell her what the queen had told him since he was sure Artemis had no idea what her mother had planned. He also didn’t know what the queen would do to him if he defied her anymore then he already had, right now she hadn’t done anything to him for taking the eye instead of leaving it like he’d led her to believe he would do but that could change very quickly at any moment. Both of them were suddenly distracted by a creaking from the door.
When the shadows broke through, he recognized them to be like the one that had reached for him in the soldier’s camp from the second portal he’d seen activated. He felt Artemis jolt as one stabbed through her shoulder and he thought she was going to get off of him to let him escape. But… no. she instead picked him up off the bed not letting him get a word in or try to move away as she suddenly ripped open the curtains and kicked through the window.
“Artemis!” Eric said her name for the second time since he knew what she was going to do. She was going to jump and the last time he’d been pushed to jump out a window, it hadn’t ended very well. Sure shadows were coming after them but he’d rather deal with that then the fall. Unfortunately, he didn’t have much of a say in the matter and without a word to him, Artemis jumped.
They were falling. And falling. And still falling when [I Thump!]
They landed on a flying monster, making it drop slightly in the air before shaking slightly to try and get them off, shrieking. Artemis simply laid him down and knelt next to him, holding him still and in place so he wouldn’t fall off. But the prince didn’t have any intention of moving or shifting since the cold air was whipping around them and it felt like it would blow either one of them off at any moment. This was nothing like how flying with Negomin had been, even when they had found a cave up in the mountains, the winds hadn’t nearly been as harsh, not nearly as cold or as strong.
Gripping the creatures scaled back, Eric tried to push himself up so he could move away from the thing’s beating wings, but the Princess firmly pushed down on his back, forcing him to stay where he was. She wasn’t going to let him move and he sighed softly to himself at that fact, slowly, cautiously crossing his arms and ducking his head to protect his face from the cold biting wind.
In a few minutes, or maybe it was a few hours, the prince felt Artemis’ grip tighten on his back and he looked up to see that the monster they were on was descending, unable to carry their weight anymore as well as keep itself air born. To his dismay, the Princess looked over towards an upcoming rock formation that seemed to be jutting out of a dark, nearly pitch black forest. He braced himself as Artemis pulled him up and before he knew it, she’d jumped, the creature giving another shriek as their weight left it’s back and they both hit the close ground and rolled.
Eric had rolled onto his back and Artemis had rolled over him, regaining her bearing quickly and grabbing a hold of the front of his jacket. He was sure now that she wanted answers and wasn’t going to take a ‘No’, but so did he and before Artemis could speak, Eric looked up at her and asked his question first.
“Why did you do that?” He asked, his voice nearly dripping with poison for whatever reason the princess had for dragging him along with her escape.
Joseph turned his face away sharply, lifting his head when Urla let go of him and having a pained expression when he looked back towards the arena. He winced at the dragon’s scream and he closed his eyes, keeping his face looking forwards for a moment. He then heard the warrior shout and he opened his eyes to see the chains breaking as she changed into her original form, lifting her head and sending a roar to the skies. Urla was laughing next to the young prince, and Joseph looked at the new king as he stood up chuckling about his favorite part and lifting the blow dart up to shoot.
Like hell if this was his favorite part. Joseph didn’t know what overcame him, but seeing what Urla was going to do, he knew he couldn’t just sit by and watch. He let go of his injured hand and jumped to his feet, his left hand whacking the king with minimal strength to startle him while his right reached forwards to snatch the weapon from Urla. But because he was reaching with his injured hand, Joseph only succeeded in knocking the blow dart and the flute like weapon out of the new king’s hands and to the ground, sending them rolling out of reach. The young prince was still close enough to shove Urla off his feet before the two guards grabbed him to haul him back and his expression was no longer pained.
Joseph was glaring, glaring with eyes that looked like they belonged to his brother instead of him. He scowled at Urla as the king got back up to his feet and he spat at him, not caring what consequences that brought him. He let out a deep puff of air in place of an angry shout and continued to glare at Urla, leaning forwards slightly in the guard’s grasp. Something had clicked for the young prince and he was no longer acting as hopeless and defeated as he hand been when he was first brought out of the dungeons, no longer as weak and broken as Urla had first seen him as.
Sorit leaned back from Ximena’s firm reply and he didn’t argue with her. “I see.” He said glanced over towards Dosia who staring at the fire. He noticed Juno sobbing quietly and he had to look away. It had probably hurt her young heart awfully to hear that her friend wasn’t at all who he’d probably said he was. It probably hurt her even more if she knew all the things that the Prince had been accused of doing and causing in his own kingdom.
The werewolf looked over and noticed that they were out of sticks and twigs to feed the fire. Oh well, it was about time the all got some shut eye anyhow and a fires light would only draw attention to their hidden shelter. “Just let the fire go out.” He told Xemina, standing to go outside for some fresh air before getting some rest. The memory of seeing the river running red made him shutter as he stood outside of the hidden cave. They were upstream from where the carnage had happened, so he knew there’d be no blood in the water here.
He was still cautious, dipping a hand down into the river and splashing some water on his face before taking in a calming breath and going back into the cave to get some sleep. This shelter was hidden and was like a traveler’s secret, you wouldn’t know where it was unless you knew what to look for, so Sorit was confident that they’d be safe till morning.
"What on earth are you...talking about...he told you that...over dear mother..." Now Artemis was puzzled and dizzy. This angered the demon. Suddenly she moved towards him and sat on his abdomen, her feet pressing on his arms while she had his collar in her grip to pulls his head up towards her face. "Oh...so you're running out on your demonic strength. Then maybe you should just spit out whatever you know! What did dear mother tell you?!" Artemis half shouted, shaking Eric in process. The queen was the only one left for her and even they were not biologically related, the princess atually cared for and respected her. Some said even more than her deceased father since the king was too busy to care for his child and did not believe in having a relationship with the heiress.
But it seemed like they were not going to be left alone anymore. The door started shaking, creaking and cracking. Artemis' head shot up and she watched shadowy tentacles breaking through. " What the...I DEMAN Y-" One shadow stabbed through her shoulder and then she realised this place was no more under her command. But she wasn't going to leave Eric behind. Artemis picked up and stumbled backward, her wound oozing out blood on Eric but it didn't slow her down. The princess ripped off the curtain and did not look at the front window which was being slammed on strongly.
With a kick, the window was shattered into pieces and the whip of the cold wind welcomed them. The shadows were racing after them. She had no choice but to jump and it was going to be quite a hard one with Eric in her arms.
They were falling.
She had not jumped aimlessly. They landed on a flying monster which shrieked at the sudden weight and shook its scaled body but that was all of its resistance. Artemis laid Eric down and knelt beside him to hold him in place so that he wouldn't fall.
Artemis gave the last glance at the broken window. The queen was there watching them with narrowed eyes, shadows swarming around her.
Urla was not leaving him alone any soon. Joseph was the perfect satisfaction for him. His hand gripped on his lower jaw, forcing the yoing like prince to look up. "Ah,ah, ah. I ordered you to watch carefully. Don't miss the transformation." He let go of Joseph's face with a sneer and focused back on the battle.
Negomin tried to drag away her body but the warrior slammed his foot on the broken arm.
Some wolves howled in excitement at the loud scream of the dragon in pain.
And then, her tolerance met its end.
The warrior was thrown back when the chains broke, the giant wings unfolded and the dragon's roar reached the skies.
Negomin slammed her tail on the ground, the dirts being thrown around at the cheering audience. She growled loudly at her foe and dared him to step forward.
"Oh, that's my favorite part...poisoning the disgustingmonster so that she wouldn't find much confidence by her power" The unbelievable Urla pulled out a flute like object, placing a dart in it... He rose up the dart shooter, ready to blow in it...
Ximena snapped out of her surprise and looked over at Sorit with a nod. "Yes, he was the one once ruled over Chamlek. The queen captured him but he managed to flee. I don't care what people think of him. He saved my life twice and that's enough for me to prove he's a lot nicer than what you think." She firmly said, prepared to argue about it but Dosia just chose silence and stared at the burning fire. Slowly, she laid down, her body exhausted from all these events.
Juno was looking down. Suddenly tears dropped down from her eyes. What Eric told her was...completely different. Was he a liar? Even though he said he was her friend? All of her hopes were crushed. She didn't know who to give the ring anymore. Sobbing quietly, the kid tried to wipe off the bitter tears.
Lying on his side, the most Eric could do was drum his fingers on the floor waiting for his strength to return. He doubted any guards or servants would help him if they found him, and it wasn’t like he’d be able to asked for help. He heard the steps of someone coming down the hall and let out an exasperated sigh, he’d fallen close to a wall, off to the side and out of the way, but he hoped if this was a servant or a guard and they weren’t going to help him, that they at least wouldn’t stop and stare. He grunted when he felt the princess trip over him and he was able to shift and glare at her for not noticing him and falling on him.
“What do you think…?” He muttered in reply to her first question and when he saw her reaching for his fist, he slightly tightened his fingers together though he couldn’t stop her from opening his hand and seeing the eye. “Don’t... Ask.” Eric muttered, mostly to himself as she gasped loudly. He didn’t have the strength to explain right them and he was surprised when he didn’t have to, as Artemis picked him up with ease and darted back to her room.
The prince was more or less glad that she’d dropped him onto her bed on his back, and he tried to shift and push himself up. But he still couldn’t move. Every other time this had happened to him when he’d reached this second way of his mind and body warning him not to push himself any more. He had been in the wild grasslands of Chamlek, only a few miles outside of the capital where he’d train with his father. And every time this happened, his father would simply leave him there, for a few hours, till the Prince could move on his own and get up and carry himself back to his castle.
“…. Enrr!” A growl rose up from his throat as Artemis yanked a single strand of his hair out and he tilted his head back, away from her so he could look fully at her with his glaring golden eyes. “I didn’t.. kill him..” Eric growled, like that explained why he had the adviser’s third eye. “The curse you.. had him.. put on me, failed when he was killed.. He told me… to take his eye when he died.. I don’t know why. But… I think I’ll trust his word.. over.. your Dear Mother’s!” He hissed the last part, tightening his free hand into a fist and quickly relaxing it when he realized what he did. When he could close his hand into a fist, it usually meant that he would be able to move a short while after. Trying his luck, he was able to shift his arms back and push himself up, making the princess lean away from his face.
“As for what happened…” he said, his voice becoming a little stronger than a mutter. “This is just a part of the reason why.. I don’t really like using these abilities of… mine.”
Joseph did look terrible, but his eyes managed to widen as if he was a little surprised by the king’s humored politeness towards him. He didn’t have much of a choice when the guards seated him next to the new king and the young prince grew tense when he felt Urla wrap a firm hand around his shoulders. Joseph knew Urla was taunting him, but it was hard not to show how hopeless he felt, especially when the new king mentioned his hand and he tightened his grip with his good hand around his injured one. He wanted to ask why they had taken some of his blood, but he felt trying to communicate would just encourage Urla’s taunting’s, so he simply looked away.
The next thing the new king said as he let go of Joseph’s shoulders, made him look back up, having caught his attention at the mention of his brother and he turned his head, looking to see where Urla was pointing. He swallowed when he saw a girl being led out by chains and as if the king thought he was disappointed; he was told to be patient. Patient? Young Joseph was terrified by what was happening around him, and he was frustrated that he no longer had any control, or any say in stopping it. Be patient, he was told. The young prince was done being patient. He watched as a warrior was brought out and his eyes only widened as the dragon girl began to dodge the warrior’s attacks, every swing getting close and closer to hitting her.
Joseph still had his hand clutched to his chest as he watched and despite himself, he stood when the girl was knocked to the ground. He could hear the guards move behind him but they didn’t do anything right away, and out of the corner of his eye he could see Urla looking at him, smirking with satisfaction that Joseph’s spirit was as wounded as it was. This was just the beginning of the battle and he knew if the dragon in the arena had helped his brother, of all people, then she wouldn’t have the weakness to die there. Slowly Joseph sat back down and looked to the floor, not towards the ongoing battle or towards Urla who’d resumed watching. He was helpless in this situation, but… a completely foolish thought was beginning to form in his mind and there was no debating whether he'd follow it or not.
Sorit looked up and over at Juno when she said she wanted to go on her own. “Not on your own little one.” He said softly to her but she shook her head and continued with saying she needed to find someone to giving him something. As she began to talk with the others, Ximena suddenly spoke up, shocked and he could see Dosia stiffen as well.
“Prince Eric?” Sorit also questioned, looking now at Ximena. “Isn’t that the name of…” He trailed off and looked towards Dosia but quickly turned back towards Ximena for answers. He knew the former queen couldn’t answer any of his questions now, or else she’d been giving herself away. But Ximena seemed to know who the prince was, so he was looking to her to fill in the blanks for him.
The queen smirked, thinking that she had the prince in her fist but when she looked for the dead body of adviser...
"You could have done better...not to oppose me." The half monster demon growled. "You think the third eye would save you? Just wait. Soon, you'll be on your knees begging me." She headed outside again and flapped her wings, flying away with a [i swish].
Artemis had tried hard to sleep. Yet, her busy mind did not let her close her eyes. She shifted restlessly and kicked away the blanket over her, gazing up at the empty ceiling with narrowed eyes. "Tsk...damn Dirtyblood doesn't leave me alone." Sighing, she remembered how he shouted that he did not want any of his powers and the demon felt...a bit of pity..or something similar for him. Unwanted powers were curses.
Artemis decided to leave her room and take a walk around her castle to cool down her head. The princess didn't bother to change since her sleeping gown was thick and covering like most of her dresses. Muerte did not spend much time on designing clothes.
The demon princess headed out and yawned while stretching. Everything seemed peaceful when she was clueless about the plans her dear queen had. Suddenly she tripped over something soft and fell over on a warm thing...Blinking she touched beneath her and recognised a living flesh. Surprised, the Ba'al got off the thing and knelt beside the most unexpected person. "What the...how did you end up here?!" she noticed that he had trouble moving. "What did dear mother do to you?" She observed him and saw he was holding on a bloody object. Carefully, she opened the fist and gasped loudly. "What...what...has happened...Him...what did you...he..." Artemis didn't wait for answers and quickly hoisted him up on her back with her demonic strength and darted towards her room.
The princess shut the door behind her with her foot and rushed to the bed before dropping Eric on it. The confused demon climbed on bed, leaning down on him to glare closely.
"Explain. Or I'll pull out your oh so shiny hair one by one."
To show her seriousness, she pull out one single hair with a swift move.
Urla grinned seeing Joseph in a terrible condition. He love to crush the weak beneath his feet. "Ah. Such a pleasure...Come, come...prince of Chamlek...sit with me..." He gestured with a humorous politeness towards the empty seat beside him. The guards seated the prince beside the new King and Urla wrapped a forcefull hand around his shoulders. "I hope you have enjoyed your stay so far. Oh, I'm sure the blood we borrowed wasn't much." His malicious eyes fixed themselves on the bandaged hand of his. "But you must watch this with full attention. Have you ever seen a dragon? This one helped your brother...hmmm...so strange isn't it? But she's gonna pay...by entertaining us~ with her painful death! Oh, look! They're bringing her..." He finally let go of Joseph and pointed at several soldiers pulling on chains. The audience gave a disappointed sound when they saw a girl being pulled on. "Patience my dear...soon she will show her true beauty."
Negomin was trying to block out the torturous cheers of the wicked people around her. She saw an armored bulky man entering the battlefield with two huge axes. The dragon took deep breaths. The warrior rushed at her. But she was not going to change. Not yet. Abantes and her had a plan... She hoped he was alright.
Negomin jumped out of the way, her chains breaking under the axe's weight. Pieces of metal flew around. Negomin saw another blow coming. She dodged it quickly, strands of her hair being cut. Yet she was kicked in chest and fell back. Her feet came up, trying to push away the man. The axe holder rose up his weapon and slammed it down. Negomin rolled away. The sound of the axes cutting the air filled her ears. Her heart started pumping blood, her mind screaming for changing back to original form.
Ximena calmed down at the mention of Juno and looked over at her before turning to face Sorit with a sad expression. "You're right. But I can't even find myself a place to call home. How can I..." Sighing in depression, Ximena scratched front of her head. Dosia shook her head firmly. "It's a tragedy, I know. But I doubt anyone would accept another mouth these days. People are not even sure of their own safety with the massacres." She tried to look expressionless and strong but her voice was shaking.
Juno suddenly stood and walked to them with a determined expression. "I...want to...go on my own. I have...to...find someone...brave and...worthy...to give him..." She bit her lips, before continuing. "Something." Shyly she looked away, not liking the look on Dosia and Ximena's faces. Ximena was going to reject immediately but Dosia interfered. "Who's this someone?" She softly asked. Juno played with the food in her hand, mumbling. "A friend...named...Eric." The two girls did not react much since they expected this person to be someone else...there were many Erics in the country.
"So...where can you find this Eric?" Dosia gently took her hand and made the kid sit kindly. " I...dunno...We met...in Holy Shrine...he...was injured...but...Phil...took him away."
"Prince Eric?! You're friends with him?!" Ximena was shocked but not as much as the former queen since she saw Eric as a nice guy too but Dosia stiffened her back and tilted her head in disblief.
The Prince only reappeared when he’d thrown open the doors to the outside. The cold air only made his senses sharper as he grew more alert and starting down into the court yard, he ignored the guard creatures and only paid attention to where he felt the shadow’s going. He looked up to see someone, something, leaving a large building that reminded him of stables as it tucked something away. Eric moved towards the thing instead of the building but another wave of nausea overcame him, making him stop suddenly and close his eyes. His human half was forced to take control again and when he opened his eyes, the assassin was gone.
Cautiously, he approached the doorway that the thing had left from but he stopped again at the sight of the Queen’s gem green eyes, piercing through him as she stepped out and began to unfold her massive wings. He stepped back as she stepped forwards, seeing her unfriendly smile appear on her face as she continued to approach him and reveal what she, herself, was. Eric could hear her trying to bait him into agreement with her, but he stayed quiet as she showed more of her deadly features. Then she said something that caught his attention.
"Even Lilith fears you. She pretends to love you since she's frightened. Frightened by a weapon she could never make."
The Mother of the Dark, a creature of life and death, was frightened… of him? It was hard to believe and seemed much easier to accept that the queen was spinning lies just to have the Prince on her side. But something about her intent didn’t seem right. Would he really be free if he helped her? Lilith was to come back and make him king, keep him here to continue the Dark Age. This queen didn’t want Lilith to return and was promising to set him free, even going as far as to forsake Artemis so she could become the rightful queen. Either way, he’d be used for both being’s gain.
“… Yes..” He answered her last question, looking away from her and feeling the writhing shadows around them push forwards slightly before retreating again. The Prince then vanished, letting his demon side take him away from the queen’s grinning composure, but he hadn’t left without the Adviser’s eyes. She was right that the Prince was smarter to believe in one thing, but he was also smarter than to believe her words over the one that seemingly had nothing to gain in helping the Prince.
Eric made it seem like he’d simply vanished back into the castle, but since the Queen had stepped forwards, away from the doorway. He had been able to get the Adviser’s eye then disappear back into the castle. His dagger was slick as blood dripped off of it and he held the eye, cradled in his hand, unsure of what to do next. But he didn’t get a chance to figure that out as something deep in him tore and yanked his demon half out of control again. He tumbled, falling hard on the smooth hall floors, but he didn’t lose the eye. Though in the moment that was the least of his current concerns as pain was ripping through his chest and the edges of his vision was swimming black before he passed out.
Eric had pushed his ability too much and this was his second warning. Curled on the floor, he was able to regain his consciousness but he couldn’t move and knew he wouldn’t be able to for quite some time. He’d just have to wait till his mind and his body were back on the same page again before he could get up.
Back on the surface…
Joseph was still, unmoving and unresponsive to the guard’s question. The first kick only knocked his form over, making him collapse to the side, limp, still unmoving, still not breathing. A few more kicks did nothing since the Prince was still locked in his own mind, but the trauma on his body was forcing him to wake back up as one of the guards, pulled him back up into a sitting position to see if he was really dead. The Prince’s eyes opened and he buckled forwards, coughing. He was coughing up blood which must have started the guard that was right in front of him but the one that had been kicking him said he was awake so they should take him to the arena.
“The King is waiting on him now.” The other said and both pulled the young prince to his feet, despite the condition he was in. The one that had checked to make sure he wasn’t dead, roughly wiped the blood that was dripping from Joseph’s chin away with his gloved hand and the two guards quickly marched him to the Arena. The Prince still coughed every now and then, losing his footing and making the guards slow so he could keep walking. When they got to the arena, Joseph was taken to where king Urla and his father were since they’d wanted to see the Prince’s reaction to the entertainment.
“Alright!” Sorit said quickly, looking between Xemina and Dosia with his hands lifted up slightly to keep the peace between them. “We understand that this is something you must do to try and help your friend.” He said. “but you mustn’t grow angry now. Doing that will be no help to your friend.” He lowered his open hands from the calming gesture that he’d made when he knew neither one of the girls would go off on each other.
“Besides,” he murmured, lowering his voice and looking over to where Juno had taken her share of food and was sitting away from the others. “That little one will need someone here for her. She has no one now and she is so young. It will be no good to her if she is just passed aside without any care for her future.” Sorit was speaking like a parent now for he had seen rival pack that tear themselves apart at the expense of their young. Juno shouldn’t be left with an uncertain future.
Unlike Dosia's castle, it wasn't a maze. Actually, it had a few rooms since Muerte Castle was home to limited families. Well, most of the monsters did not need shelter or didn't even have an actual physical body. It was a dying world, trying to survive and wait for another Dark Age. They barely could give birth or even bothered to find mates.
So, Eric could be surprised by how empty and silent the place was. Soon he was facing the huge doorway which was also left without a single guard. It was like...nobody cared if you escaped, there were worse things outside. The doors opened to the courtyard which was skillfully dug throw the mountains. The cold air hit his face and roars of aggressive monster in the skies echoed in his ears. Some creatures in soldier clothing stopped to look at him, sniffing curiously. The smell of Artemis' hair in his pocket scared them, making them get out of his way.
He felt the shadows passing beneath his feet towards the stable. Somebody walked out of the place, hiding his bloody dagger. The assassin made a swift turn around the stable and disappeared in the shadows to give the good news to his boss.
The horses kept in stable were like normal horses, only bigger and angrier. Maybe that was because they were mostly used for battles. Under the hay, the moveless body of the adviser was left. He had been stabbed from behind over and over.
"Well done, Eric of Chamlek." The cold, uninterested voice of queen came at the entrance of the stable. Those green gems of her eyes were now fixed on him. The dreadful wings of her started opening. The massive wings blocked the doorway and light. The horses became uneasy and nervous, stomping hooves. "You are one determined hybrid, I must admit. Why do you keep making trouble for yourself? You could be the king..." She started approaching him. " Are you afraid of Lilith? Everyone are." Her wrinkled face stretched into an unfriendly smile. "But I am not. I have you." She kept approaching him, suddenly spikes tore through her dress out of her body. The old demon had a body of monster. She was not a Ba'al, like Artemis and her dead father. She was a hybrid of demon and monster. "Hybrids...are always stronger. Half bloods...are looked down but Oh, they always have the upper hand. You know what I mean...you are the strongest among humans...they fear you and your natural bloodlust." Long, sharp claws poked out of her long sleeves like ten deadly blades."Even Lilith fears you. She pretends to love you since she's frightened. Frightened by a weapon she could never make." A rattling scorpion tail twisted out of the now torn dress. "You are lucky...to have prophecies behind your back. I...fought to take my place...You think tearing up a female Ba'al is easy? And to witness how her child grows freely to take the place you struggled to get and to realise that you cannot have a child of your own just because you're a hybrid...Me and Lilith are much alike but I do not want her to come back either. So, stay on my side and I'll help you get rid of the Lilith...You will be free. I will become the righteous queen and you will be back to your own world. So let go of this traitor. You want his cursed eye, don't you? He has told you to take it but you are smarter than that. Let me tell you one thing... He was just another Lilith supporter. Even that Artemis will soon give up her throne to you and hand your soul to Lilith....but you want freedom, don't you?"
We'll go back to the surface for a while....
"So, the silly little dragon came on her own will to be chained? Well...I expected more from an ancient dragon." Bhediya's son, the so called king, burst out laughing. His followers laughed along with him and pieces of food and fruits were thrown at the small figure of Negomin who was chained and held in place by the iron collar around her neck. The girl waa deperessed yet her eyes were dull like she was in another world. Quietly she whispered, "I don't care how you have wrongly taken the throne. Just beware of your risky action that-" She fell over as the king's whip hit back of her knees. Negomin's eyes narrowed, wondering how stupid they could be. Her head waa jerked back by a pull on her collar to look at the king, Urla.
"You think I'm too scared of a pathetic, injured dragon like you?!" He gave a cruel kick to her broken arm but was disappointed when Negomin only shouted out angrily.
"YOU LOWEST OF LOW! THE CIRCLE BENEATH YOUR FEET IS THE GATE TO THE DOOM ITSELF. ONCE YOU ACTIVATE IT, THE ANCIENT GUARDS OF DEATH WILL BE SENT UPON YOU!"
"SHUT UP! This is the gate to Dark Age..and as long as we have Lilith...we are safe..."
"Take her to arena...There will be some entertainment for you...let's see which warrior gets to kill her and become my right hand!"
Drunk cheers filles the bloodstained throneroom as they dragged the struggling Negomin out towards the once training grounds.
"Oh. And let's have our dear guest join the party. We should thank him for the precious blood~"
Guards opened the door of Joseph's cell. "Hey! Wake up! You alive?!" One gave a hard kick to his chest. "The generous king is letting you little prince watch warriors battling a real dragon! A Chamlek brat like you must enjoy." Chuckling they kicked him again to make him move faster.
Ximena was successfully distracted as she looked back at Sorit with a troubled look. "Um...uh...I must. I don't know how but I have to." She stubbornly whispered as playing with the now loose bandages on her arms. Dosia let out a sigh. "You can't do anything right now. I don't think they will kil him asap. He might have more use to them."
"I don't care. I cannot leave him be!" Ximena rose up her voice angrily.
Eric slightly relaxed, as much as he could in this place, when the Cacador walked away. The Prince heard what he said and gritted his teeth in frustration at the sudden spoken words. [I Twenty-four? What is that supposed to mean?] He thought looking down at the three pages he’d covered in what looked to be absolute nonsense, but he knew what he’d written. Setting the pen down, the Prince leaned forwards on the desk with his head in his hands again.
Eric had no idea how Lilith would try to reach him again, but if someone was helping her, in the castle, and using the Princess as a gate. “How would moving me help any?” He spat quietly. Had she taken over his mind, when she sang her lullaby, had she been in control of him then? “No… No, no. She wasn’t… I…” The sensation around his neck pulled Eric from his self-loathing and he place a hand to the tattoo, looking at it and seeing his palm stained with the ink. It was now running from his skin like water and he couldn’t feel it reforming the lines.
Standing up, the prince rushed to find a mirror somewhere and he stepped towards the door that he’d first dismissed to be a closet, but there was a wardrobe in the room that he was in now. Behind the door there was a bathroom, of sorts, but nevertheless, it had a mirror and he hurried over to it, inspecting the mark and seeing that it had smeared and wasn’t coming back. Did that mean the Adviser was dead? He didn’t know and leaving the bathroom, he could hear the hissing of water being splashed over a hot surface and the Cacador cursing to himself.
If the Prince was going to take that Adviser’s word, now would be the time to leave, but something stopped him and he turned back towards his desk and began opening the drawers. I shouldn’t leave unarmed. Not again. He thought and in the last drawer on the bottom he found a dagger with a gem encrusted hilt. Eric took it and turned back towards the door, not bothering to see if the Cacador would notice or not, he threw it open and let it slam behind him as he raced down the stairs and out into the castles corridors.
He had no idea where he was going and could already hear the hisses and whispers of wandering shadows that had noticed his reckless movements, and they were just growing louder as more and more started trailing after him. Eric didn’t slow down or look back but he could hear them getting closer, see flickers out of the corner of his eyes as he passed them, feel a claw reaching for the back of his neck…
“[b [i ENOUGH!]]” Eric roared, his demon side jumping front and center as he spun around to face whatever was behind him. But nothing was there. He couldn’t see anything else down the hall with him but he could still feel the shadows around him and hear their retreating growls as the moved off a little bit. Keeping his demon side in control, the Prince turned back around and disappeared in a blur of motion, searching for where ever the Adviser lay and wondering why he’d help the prince by giving him his third eye.
The young Prince was still sitting in the back of his cell, having stopped most of the bleeding by himself while soaking his hand and part of his sleeve in his own blood. Though he couldn’t see it very well, the sight and the smell made him gag and just being in this situation, if he could he would have screamed when that man cut into his hand. He glanced up when the cat entered his cell with a guard waiting at the door and he was hesitant to let her take his hand and begin to clean it, they way half humans and animals do. She then wrapped the wound and gave him a cordial look, his hand still in hers before she stood up and left his cell, letting the guard lock the door.
Joseph stared after and held his injured hand close to his chest, looking down in the dark and feeling the rising panic that had been growing in him, begin to subside. He was still alive and there was a fair chance that his brother was too. Philip would survive his injuries under Saara’s watchful eyes and Xemina and that little girl had escaped the soldiers. But he didn’t know for how long they would be safe on the run. Swallowing, the Prince closed his eyes and slowed his breathing, taking control of his body and letting his mind think of nothing else but his breathing, which was gradually growing slower and slower as the minutes passed, eventually making it seem like he’d stopped breathing completely, his body ridged with his eyes closed and his mind locked in with his sly trick of meditation.
“Joseph?” Sorit had been listening but seeing Dosia’s reaction and naming a prince he’d never heard of made more curious the concerned. “I thought there was only one Prince of Chamlek. Well, at least I’ve only heard of there being one prince since the rebellion was trying to catch him around a year ago.” He glanced at the former queen and slightly shook his head, it was unnoticeable if you weren’t looking but he knew Dosia saw it. It was a sign for her not to say anything more than she had too. Sorit then looked back at Xemina.
“So he was captured,” the werewolf said, looking for Xemina to continue with her wish to rescue him instead of waiting for Dosia to answer her question. “Do you think you will be able to?”
The Cacador rose up an eyebrow, shaking his head a bit at the weird writing of the prince. Quietly he walked back to the kitchen since it was the only place he could use as he pleased. "You're number twenty four." Suddenly he spoke out but did not say anything else since he was not allowed to. He started slicing vegetables, making himself busy by preparing ingredients for the upcoming meals.
[b A human...a human is there...no dummy...it's a half human...oh,the prophecy...the prophecy...we can't eat it...ohhhh..what about his human side? Soon Mother will let us devour his humanity...delicious...delicious...No, no...Mother loves him...it's not like the others...I don't care...I'm hungry...his soooul..his sooooul...Shush, mother will hear...Heeeeeheee...Mother will come, Mother will come and let us hunt freely for any dirty flesh...Yes...we will be powerful...we are the oldest and strongest...Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother!]
The shadows were hissing and whispering behind the door, scratches being made on the wood threateningly. Then suddenly, the shadows retreated. Retreated while chuckling darkly.
[b The third eye...the third eye...ours...ours...]
Eric felt his neck stinging. The curse was fading, leaving smeared ink on his skin. The Cacador was still in kitchen, boiling water.
The shadows were racing towards the outdoors, towards the stable where the stabbed adviser was dying.
The cat opened an eye, witnessing the blind man passing her with a vial filled with red liquid. She stood and headed for her small room at the stairs and after five minutes came with some wrappings. The guard saw her, " Oi. What's that for?" Cat only stared up at him, pointing at Joseph's cell." He won't die from bloodloss, you retarded kitty. Heh. But it might infect. You may take care of it." The Cat narrowed her eyes slightly at the insult but waited patiently for him to open the door for her and she approached Joseph and knelt beside him. She took his wounded hand and started licking it like a cat cleaning wound. They did not have any ointment in the dungeon so she had to do it original style. Then carefully, she bandaged his hand and then looked up at him with a meaningful stare. There was a hair pin tucked into that bandage secretly. Cat left him once again, letting the guard lock the door.
Dosia looked at Sorit when she was called by her fake name then saw the ring still in her hand. She quickly gave it back to the stressed Juno and watched her hide it carefully back in her clothes. She liked to ask many questions but then again she was afraid of revealing her true identity. Instead, she tried to pay attention to Ximena who sighed and looked down, whispering in depression. "I...don't know. Many things have happened and...I didn't expect this village to be...I..just need to find this girl a safe shelter before I go to rescue my...friend." She chewed on her lips, not knowing if she could tell them the truth.
"What has happened to your friend?" Dosia encouraged Ximena to talk and after some more minutes of hesitation, Ximena replied. "They...the soldiers...captured him. He...was...well,...Chamlek...younger...prince..."
"Joseph?!" Dosia suddenly gasped, dropping her portion of food. Ximena and Juno jumped up slightly at her reaction. "Y-you know him?" The dancer timidly asked, confused more.
The Prince’s writing was fast, scrawled, and changing indiscriminately between the few languages he knew. The lines of words were being tightly pressed together, some words running over others but Eric didn’t seem to care. This way of writing was just another sign of his destructive nature being pressed back into a desperate situation. He didn’t acknowledge the Cacador as he approached with whatever drink he’d prepared, but besides the prince’s writing, when the Cacador peered over his shoulder to try and see what he was writing, his free hand curled into a fist against the page he was holding still and he narrowed his eyes slightly but did nothing else.
Though this was never how he’d write any decrees, Eric’s writing was still very different from his brothers. Unlike Joseph, he had never spent very much time with his studies, he’d always been either making a ruckus for the royal guard or observing his mother’s court and watching how she ruled, or traveling and training with the captain of the royal guard. Just simply living life as they youthful prince pleased. He’d always figured that there would be time to do such things later. He’d always thought that he’d have time to learn and grow as a leader, and that not much would change when he became king. That mentality had all been shattered after the rebellion took full front after his mother’s death, and the Prince felt alone as his world turned on him and he was left with only his loyal captain and a few legions of his army. The rest had turned to side with the rebellion, many having done that after news of the younger Prince’s flight spread like wild fire across the kingdom.
Eric had been wounded, hunted, and chased out only to be captured and locked away for not nearly as long as he’d needed to come up with a real plan of action to right any way that he’d been wronged. He had escaped, fought, and left many in the dust to burn, and now he was here. Simply waiting, waiting to see what fate the Queen had in store for him or waiting to see if Lilith tried reaching out for him again. Or waiting to see if he was killed first before anything else could happen.
Joseph had stepped back from the cell door, moving a few feet away before sitting down again and pulling his legs up, his feet crossed and his arms resting one his knees. He ducked his head, like he was sleeping just as the guard and the blind man stopped in front of his cell. Shifting, the young prince slowly, tiredly looked up but his feigned tiredness was quickly gone as the guard roughly grabbed him and pulled on his arm, making him reveal his palm as the blind man approached. Joseph didn’t struggle since he didn’t know what was going on, but the sudden pain of his hand being sliced and the cut being pressed on made him wince and try to pull away. He tried, but he couldn’t get out of the guard’s grasp and he was carelessly tossed down when the man said he was done.
He quickly pulled himself away from the bars, grasping his wounded hand and trying not to move it as he backed himself up to the far wall of his cell. Why had they done that? Joseph was completely human, unlike his half-blooded brother. What cause did they need his blood for? Or were they harvesting blood from everyone in the dungeons? He shivered at the thought and pressed his sleeve over the gash on his hand, trying to get the bleeding to stop.
Sorit helped Ximena gather some stones and sticks before taking some kindling from his bag to help get the fire started. He noticed the look Dosia had as she gaze at Juno’s ring, but he also noticed the distressed look that the little girl had as she desperately reached for the ring.
“Owl.” He said in a low voice to get her attention and that seemed to snap her out of her thoughts so she could give the ring back to the little girl. He hadn’t noticed what kind of ring it was, the wolf only thought that it had great sentimental value to the child. Once the small fire was started, Sorit hardly had to tend to it any and got out the food that he’d brought for Dosia.
The werewolf had his own ways of acquiring a meal but he knew the former queen probably wouldn’t want to eat any spoils from his hunts, though eventually he knew she’d have too if they got too far into the border lands. But for now, he had brought quite a bit of dried and cooked foods for their travels and there was enough now to spare some for Juno and Ximena.
“Where are you two heading now?” Sorit asked Ximena in a soft voice as he got the foods out. The welfare of the young blood was on his mind while he asked and he wondered if the two were family and had some place to go. He had yet to tell them his name but he’d say it soon enough, there was no harm in them knowing who he was.
When Eric called out her name for the first time, the demon had felt a bit strange in her stomach. She didn't admit it but the Ba'al actually liked it. But it did not last long since her mother interfered. The queen was one she feared and respected. Artemis could never bring herself to oppose her. So she just laid there for a while with a wounded pride. The demon then slowly rose up and stood, wiping of the blood from her face. Now she had lost her custody over the prince, Artemis felt like she was no more in charge. That was not something new. She was never really in charge. The princess was more like a general, leading armies and fighting.
Convincing herself with telling herself the queen would protect him better, Artemis headed to her own room and laid down on bed. She tried to get some rest.
The Cacador stayed at the door listening before he suddenly turned to walk to a single door in the room. He opened it and revealed a small kitchen. It was clear the queen did not want Eric to have the slightest contact outside of the room. Soon, smell of herbal drinks filled the room and he came back with a cup in his hand. Slowly and quietly he approached Eric from behind and tried to see what he was writing while he set the cup on his desk.
The cat jumped up on her feet alerted and darted to a corner like a scared cat. She laid there, pretending to be asleep. Steps echoed in the dungeon and a man in eastern Deloriak common outfit came, his eyes closed due to an infection most of peasants faced since childhood. The awake guard led him to Joseph's cell. The blind man stood behind the bars, waiting for the guard open the door. The guard did not give Joseph time to step away as he sntached his right wrist and pressed on it to make him reveal his palm of hand. The blind man approached the prisoner and pulled out a dagger, dragging it along Joseph's palm. He then took a vial and pressed the wound to make it bleed more and collected the blood. "I'm done." The man said and came out of the cell. The guard carelessly threw the young prince on the floor and locked the door after coming out once again.
Dosia blinked when he took her hand and felt uneasy at the touch but knew that it wasn't time for caring about things like that so just let him hold it, trying not to feel so awkward about it. Ximena was a bit glad the strangers knew a place to stay for the night. She was already tired and broken. All bad things happened too fast and she needed tk digest them one by one. Juno just kept her silence and took Ximena's hand, trying to keep up with her steps.
"Yes, this will do." The former queen whispered before entering the cave. Ximena made sure Juno was sitting before collecting some sticks and stones for fire. Dosia glanced at Juno who had a blank expression. The kid was trying to keep her mind clear so that she wouldn't remember the bloody scenes much. Suddenly the kids searched through her clothes nervously and a small, shiny signet ring fell out, rolling on the ground. Juno gasped and crawled after the small object. Dosia picked up the ring and was about to give it to her before she realised what it was. The former queen paused and stared. This signet ring was from the nomadics in neighbouring deserts. Deloriak did not have a friendly relationship with them but they were feared for their fighting skills and strong defences so Deloriak had no choice but live with the neghbour peacefully. It was rumored that they knew where the Light lands are hidden and they will offer a guide only if adventurer would have the signet ring.
Juno desperately was reaching for the ring but Dosia was just staring at it thoughtfully.
Surprised by her threatening actions, Eric felt Artemis digging her claws into his shoulders and he stepped back as she pushed him, stepping back till he reached the wall behind him and he couldn’t go any further. He stared at her, resisting the urge to wince as she squeezed his shoulders and pinched a few nerves under her claws. He hadn’t actually expected her to hurt him, but then again she was a demon, and he knew how his father had reacted to criticism, when he was in a good mood. The Prince didn’t say anything as Artemis let him go, he only rolled back his aching shoulders and moved to inch away from her, but he didn’t get very far. She pulled him off balance when she snatched his upper arm and he stumbled to keep his footing as she dragged him towards the door.
“Ar-Artemis-!” He tried, saying her name for the first time but the moment the door was thrown open, he felt her let go of him and heard her fall back. Eric had allowed his gaze to follow her down before he notice who had opened the door and stepped in front of him, coldly looking down at the princess. It was the queen and he couldn’t find the words to refuse as she turned away for him to follow. He gave one look back at Artemis before following her mother, his eyes down casted and simple watching where she was going, not what was around them.
The Prince followed her to the room that was to be his and he looked away from her piercing eyes at her parting words before she left. He entered the room and when the Cacador didn’t even look at him, except to wait till he’d entered to close the door, he knew there was no point in trying to talk to his guard. This room seemed much more homely to Eric then Artemis’ had, he paced around the room before seating himself at the desk that was on the far side of the room. His back was to the door and he took up a blank page and a pen, and began to write. Something Artemis had said had struck a chord with him and he quietly swore that he wouldn’t lose himself here. He wouldn’t be turned into a puppet or broken down through his mind. Not by any songs of fear from the mother of the dark or by her comforting words.
Joseph shifted as the cat poked him and he shook his head slightly. The prince made a motion as if he was gesturing to something then shook his head again. He brought his hands to his neck then moved them up to cover his mouth. He couldn’t speak, lowering his hands, he glanced at the cat hoping she understood. The guard down the hall began to stir and he jumped to his feet, waving the cat up with him and gesturing her to leave. Neither one of them should get in trouble because of them talking, or not.
Sorit nodded to Ximena and Juno and stayed quiet when Dosia blurted out a name. He knew the two didn’t need to know who Dosia was. He turned towards the former queen when she asked if he could find one and nodded, lifting his head and closing his eyes.
“Up river… If my memory serves correct there should be a place that we can all rest up river.” He said and subconsciously took Dosia by her hand and waited for Ximena and Juno to have their steed by its reins before leading them off. It felt natural, maybe because he had played the role of a leader and protected many times before, but he wasn’t trying to show any unease. Sorit wanted to talk to Dosia about what they’d seen in the Village but he’d wait till they’d parted ways with the two other unfortunate travelers before he brought up any more hardships.
The werewolf also knew he shouldn’t reveal what he was, since most of the packs had sided with the new king, enforcing his kind’s name as deadly, brutal monsters instead of strong, loyal hunters. Picking their way along the river bank, Sorit slowed as they reached a bend where the trees were growing up to the river’s edge and he sniffed slightly, nodding to himself.
“Over here.” He said, stepping towards the trees and passing a willow’s vines to reveal a rather wide but not very deep cave, hidden from sight and sheltered from any rain and wind that may pick up in the night. The arching ceiling made the air circular easily in and out of the cave so a fire wouldn’t be a problem to start in there.
Artemis' eyes narrowed as Eric started provoking her daringly. Suddenly she made firm, threatening steps towards him and grabbed him by the shoulders. The demon's claws dug into his flesh and she pulled him close to her face, her gaze radiating inhumanity and bloodlust.
"Shut up." She hissed before continuing to spit out her words hatefully as she pushed him forwards to the wall and pressed him there. " Let me be honest to you. My dear mother was the one who saved your ass. Because, I don't care where to kill you. Even here...where you don't have a chance against me. But for some reasons, dear queen doesn't want you dead anywhere." Her grip on him tightened mercilessly. "Oh and I should apologise because I don't like torturing my preys...Lilith will come for you again and again...until you lose your mind and beg for death, until you become a doll for her and obey her demands...or worse. Who knows." Giving the last hiss, Artemis let go of Eric but did not let him get any far from her as she sntached his upper arm and forcefully dragged him to the door. "SHADOWS, TAKE HI-"
Blood splattered on the floor and Artemis fell over, holding her bleeding face. "D-dear mother..." She muttered weakly. The fearsome queen stepped in front of Eric, shadows avoiding her. "What did I tell you about him, foolish child?!" She coldly said before looking back at the prince. "I'm sorry for the inconvenience. Please come this way." Her shiny eyes pierced into his golden ones, not liking to hear a no as she turned to walk in the corridors. "I have prepared you a suitable room."
The queen led him upstairs to a single door. She just cleared her throat and the door opened catiously. Expressionless face, fragile body, sharp teeth. He knew the race well.
A Cacador like N.V.
"Don't let anyone enter the door." The demon queen ordered then gave a long stare at Eric. "Do not seek quick death." She left the place after that. The cacador waited till Eric entered before closing. Unlike Artemis' room, it had the luxury of Eric's world. His guard did not even glance at him and stood at the door, listening for any possible threat.
The cat watched his gestures carefully before thinking for the right words. Slowly and with the help of her hands, she tried to speak understandable. "Eric...im...meow...imprisoned...past...queen..." Her ears dropped again at the mention of the queen, remembering how she had some respect by the previous guards. Curiously she reached out one hand through the bars and poked his chest. "You?" She asked curiously.
Ximena looked up at the dark sky, not knowing what to do. She was dancer, not much of a traveller except by caravan. "You don't even have something to eat. Stay with us for a while till you find the place you need to go." Dosia said, looking at Juno to remind Ximena the girl needed to be fed. Ximena decided to trust them and nodded slowly. She set Juno down who looked up at the strangers with wide eyes. "I'm Ximena and this is Juno."
"The owl. Call me Owl." Dosia looked at Sorit, not wanting these two to know the shocking truth. They did not need to know she was alive but helpless that was worse. Ximena was convinced with the name since she had heard weirder names.
"We need a shelter for now." Dosia said the obvious and looked at Sorit again. "Can you find one, please?"
The Prince scowled at the faded figure and stepped back once he’d read what the man had written, if he could even call it a man. He looked away when Artemis entered the room and he moved back some more as she pulled the curtains shut, warning him not to touch them before sitting on her bed with a sigh.
“You couldn’t have known.” Eric said pacing over behind the chair and stopping but making no move to sit down. “It’s not like I’ve ever left my own world before… But then again, you’d already know that.” He added bitterly, remembering that Artemis had claimed to know everything about him and that her father had been watching the Joy blood line. He watched as she stood after cutting a lock of her own hair and he half sneered at her when he took her hair.
“You’re one to talk of fairness.” He said, twisting the ends of the lock of hair together and then knotting it so the lock wouldn’t fall apart. The Prince was quiet for a moment then looked back at Artemis, tucking the lock of hair into his pocket. “Well?” He started, “I’d expect you to have more words for me… You have the key to your destruction here in front of you and..” He paused, like he was debating whether he should really provoke the Princess like this, but he had already started, might as well say what he had to, to get an answer from her.
“Yet… You insist on apologizing. For things that are out of our control.” He paused again and watched Artemis carefully. “Your mother… She doesn’t want you hurting me here… but you don’t think Lilith wouldn’t have still retaliated if I was killed in my own world?” He wasn’t really looked for an answer but strangely enough, The Prince did want to do some prying with Artemis to see how much she really knew about him.
Joseph nodded to show he understood and looked down for a moment, also growing tense when he heard the guard snoring but relaxing when nothing more happened. He glanced over towards the locked door of his cell and thought about asking if this cat girl would help him escape, but he didn’t want to risk being caught, or have this servant suffer any more since it was clear this place wasn’t any good. Not anymore.
He shifted and moved over so he was sitting on the other side of the bars from the cat and he made a gesture to ask about the name she’d said. She’d spoken his brother’s name, which could mean that he was there, or had been there. Either option could very well mean that his brother was dead, but he sincerely hoped that wasn’t the case.
Sorit felt like his heart was going to break for this little girl. How could the Holy Shrine have been attack? He glanced at Dosia and noticed her trembling slightly and he knew what she was feeling instantly. He looked back at Ximena and answered vaguely. “We are coming from the cross roads east of Holy Shrine.” He said, since he couldn’t really give the name of a village in the area that he’d come from.
“We are heading west through the borderlands.” He told them since he didn’t feel that they were any threat. “It’s getting late.” Sorit said glancing up towards the sky. “We should all leave this place.” He looked towards Dosia. They needed to find shelter and rest and he thought about offering to let the two stay with them for a night but he didn’t want to speak for Dosia, in case she disagreed.
The castle was on top of the mountain, near the stars. Several flying monsters were passing peacefully. It was even easy to recognise some of the galaxies in the sky. Surprisingly, it was quite a lovely sight. But why Artemis insisted on having the curtains pulled?
A window was in front of her window, meters away. Its curtains were not pulled but it seemed suspiciously dark in there. Suddenly a pair of pale palms stuck to that window and started tapping. A face appeared. A face of a young man, opening and closing mouth like he was about to say something. His eyes were two empty hollows and he looked so...faded. The stranger kept slamming on the glass desperately. Then started writing on the misty glass.
"Get away from that window before the evil spirit takes you away!" Artemis entered and ran to the curtains, pulling them over. She turned at the prince and growled. "Don't ever touch this curtain." The demon warned him, then sighed and sat back on the bed. "I shouldn't have slept in your presence. I didn't know you'll get hurt. What I did was unfair. She could enslave your mind." Artemis sighed then took her hair lock, using her claw to cut it off. She shoved her hair in his hand. "Here. As long as you keep it, they won't harm you."
The cat's ears dropped as she gestured that she could read only a little. She heard a guard snoring loudly and the hair on her tail stood as she looked at the direction in panic. When nothing happened, she looked back at Joseph curiously.
Ximena was a bit unsure but she saw their honest faces and decided to believe his words. Carefully, she got off the horse and picked Juno. She held the kid in her hug and observed the two strangers. Dosia finally stepped in. "You look tense. What has happened to you two?"
"..." Ximena was still hesitating to answer when Juno replied with a childish honesty. "I come from Holy Shrine...they..." The little girl hiccuped slightly in sorrow and shed two or three tears. " They killed mom...they killed...everyone...but...we are not...betrayers..." Ximena bit her lips, staring at Sorit. "What about you two?"
Dosia was gritting teeth, her body shaking this time in rage. Holy Shrine was supposed to be a Safe Haven for even those who did not like her..Bhediya was going too far...
Slipping into a dream, Eric was barely aware of what was happening till he thought, he recognized the halls that he was absent mindedly wandering. The banners and paintings were… Painfully familiar.
Hearing a voice behind him he turned and froze when he was his mother, looked as she had the last time he’d seen her alive. He opened his mouth to speak but stopped as her form began to shift and change and soon a tall slender figure was in front of him and wrapping her arms around him. He couldn’t move and her voice. He knew he was listening to Lilith now, somehow she was in his mind, but…
With her words, her quiet lullaby that was growing noticeably louder, the Prince felt himself being lulled into a dull sense of security and peace. “I…” He didn’t recognize the voice that came from him when he tried to speak as everything began to spin.
“Ah!” The slap across his face was enough to wake him and make him forget for a moment where he was as he tightened his hands into fists and turned to lash out at Artemis.
The unexpected apology from her made him stop and stare as she rushed out of the room and some idle servants crept in to give him some tea and herbs and make him lay down to rest. Eric glanced at the teenager who was reaching to place a wet cloth on his forehead as he settled on the bed and he shook his head slightly at the two servants.
“No.” He replied with a firm calmness. “I will not kill any of you because I am not going to be the king, not of here.” He said and he could see the servant that had asked look slightly relieved while the other one gulped at what the prince said before they both left the room. Eric looked up when the adviser stepped into the room and his gaze hardened when he recognized him to be the same one that had cursed him. He listened to what the adviser had to say and at his last request, the Prince bowed his head slightly. Respect the dead. “Of course.” He answered and listened to the hisses of the shadows outside in the hall as the Adviser left.
He laid there for a few minutes thinking, till his demon side grew restless and began to push for him to get up. “First you’re warning me not to and next you’re saying I must..” Eric snorted to himself standing but not changing forms. The Prince paced around the room, looking for anything that could help him learn more about the world he was now in. But the wardrobe only held clothes, and there was nothing behind the mirror on the table and the two painting were nailed through their frames on the wall so they couldn’t be moved. He then wondered about the bed and cautiously peered under it, but the sheets and blankets that were draping down on the other sides made it impossible to see anything so he stood back up and glanced towards the door. He wasn’t sure if he should try his luck in just leaving or stay, waiting for Artemis to return like a well-trained pet.
Eric grimmest at the thought and looked towards the windows that had their heavy curtains drawn. He approached them and pulled the curtains aside to look out at Muerte.
The young prince had managed to get some rest as things began to quiet down, but a soft meowing pulled him from his sleep before his dreams could wander anywhere. He looked over towards the bars and sat up rubbing his eyes as the cat girl from earlier stuttered out his brother’s name. He glanced over again at the bars and shook his head slightly, unable to tell her who he really was. Joseph made a gesture that was asking if she could read. It was fairly dark but he was sure their eyes would adjust and he partially assumed that she could see better in the dark then he could.
Sorit stood just a bit in front of the former queen as the horse with its two riders appeared on the road. They’d come up to the ruined village before noticing the two that were standing in and among the ruined huts. Sorit took a few steps towards them but stopped when the little girl started screaming in fear.
“Easy!” He called, raising his hands up as the woman pulled on the horses reins and the steed bobbed its head, tossing its mane, snorting and whinnying. “We’re not going to hurt you two.” It was dark and he was sure that finding two people in the middle of a ruined village would make anyone put their guard up.
“The King’s soldiers were through here a few hours ago.” He said calmly, no longer trying to approach the two as Ximena turned the steed and Juno quietly whimpered. “Where are you coming from?” He asked, hoping to know that if they were also coming from a raided village then he would be able to see what range the new king was taking in eliminating potential homes for an uprising to start.
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