[Author's note: I hope you have your tissues handy for here is the second half of Princess Allmarah's rescue.]
"Hermanus!” his name came out as a whisper, though Allmarah shouted it in her head. Only years of court training and his indication to be silent kept her from running into his arms.
“So these Barbarians,” James scoffed, causing Allmarah to flick her eyes at the man once more, “are your doing, Prince Hermanus?”
“The Gods send help from strange places,” Prince Hermanus responded resolutely. “I will not give up Azure without a fight.”
He looked so regal and in charge that Allmarah wanted to cry. She knew he’d had the strength in him.
“Then a fight we will give you...”
Commotion at the pikes, kept James from completing his statement. The shouting was in a language that Princess Allmarah didn’t understand. Only one word caught her attention.
It was a familiar voice, repeatedly shouting her name. Trying to maintain her posture, Allmarah struggled to see past the barbarians. As if understanding her need, the group split down the middle and she caught sight of a young man upon horseback racing towards them.
“Theo!” Her realization startled her into action and she ran forward.
“Retreat,” she heard James call out from behind.
A sudden pain in her shoulder made the Princess stumble. Suddenly the large woman had her under her shield and Hermanus was supporting her. Raising their shields to form a wall, the Barbarians began to move away from General Wholawski’s fortress.
“ALLMARAH!” Theodoso’s voice had raised in pitch.
He was clearly visible now. Just like her brother, he’d run the horse ragged, but still he pressed towards them. Closer and closer, he rode. Then, when he was about to run into them, he pulled up short. In nearly the same instant five arrows peppered his chest. Prince Theodoso’s eyes flicked to the fortress as he toppled from the saddle.
“Theo!” Allmarah ran forward, forgetting her own pain as she dropped to her knees beside his body. “Oh brother,” tears began to fall from her eyes, “Why did you do that?”
Prince Theo tried to smile but instead he coughed, blood oozing from his mouth. “I,” he gurgled trying desperately to speak, but unable.
Leaning forward she whispered, “There was nothing to avenge. Not for me,” her tears fell upon his face. “There was never anything to avenge for me. I went willingly.”
She felt Prince Hermanus kneel beside her and place an arm around her shoulder. “We can’t stay here, we’re still within arrow range,” he told her, though she barely heard him.
There were more Barbarians around them now. Hermanus helped her to stand as others lifted her brother from the ground. Arrows still rained down around them; some sticking hard into the shields, other pinging off the armor.
“I am sorry.” Allmarah took her brother’s hands as they moved forward. “I had no idea what was going on. I swear to you if I had known, I would not have…” her words stopped as Prince Theodoso abruptly turned his head. “Please brother,” she whispered, “forgive me.”
His eyes flicked towards her and they became blank as his whole body let go. Sobs began to wrack the Princess and she paid no heed to where Prince Hermanus led her.