Victoria pushed her nose into the soft down of the pillow, inhaling it's musky sent. She allowed herself to wade in between the realms of slumber and the state of being awake. A pleasant warmth settled in her core. Lazily, she rolled over onto her back and stretched her arms out above her head. The blanket fell away from her chest. A sudden cold air pierced her skin. Victoria shivered. She reached for the blanket and her mind jolted awake without any warning.
Victoria inhaled sharply, gazing upon her own naked body. She became all too alert. The pleasant warmth and tingling was replaced with a horrific tremble. Her chest tightened restricting the flow of air from her lungs. Hazily, she recalled the events of last night. She couldn't even scream. The only sound that escaped her chest was a gurgled sob.
Quickly Victoria jumped out of Harold's bed. Harold, the cause of her father's death, Harold who she had came here to kill. Without anytime to process what had happened last night, she ransacked the room for her dress. She found it pushed under the bed. Victoria's eyes widened when she saw the state of it; torn. Heat crept into her cheeks. Her knife. Where was her knife? Victoria had a job to finish and now, even more of a motive. She was a Servant of the High Priestess. Not only had she lost her virtue last night, but she brought even more dishonor to her late father by sleeping with his killer.
Victoria draped the torn garment over her shoulders. Struggling to regain her normal breathing pattern, she knelt down to pick up her cloak. Her hand sought out the Silver pin with the mark of the High Priestess on it. She had betrayed her vows. She was as good as dead.
“Where is that damn knife?” Victoria cursed, forgetting herself entirely. She had already committed the most unforgivable sin, muttering a curse was nothing in comparison.
Victoria knelt on the floor, searching for her knife. After several minutes she had declared it was gone, She was defenseless in enemy territory. The door to Harold's bed chamber opened and Victoria jumped up to her feet.
In the doorway stood a small feeble man. He wore a wicked grin on his face. Victoria backed away from him. There was something familiar about that wrinkled face..... When he smiled at her it hit her. He was the man from the market, the one who offered her a drink from the chalice.
Victoria's eyes widened. Rapidly, she pieced the puzzle together. “You drugged me!” she accused.
She expected the man to deny the accusation, instead his grin spread wider. “Ah, so it has been done.”
Victoria took a threatening step towards the man. She grabbed the collar of his shirt. “What do you mean, little man?” she demanded. “What were your intentions? To ruin me completely! Do you have any idea who I am?” She released her hold on him.
The man nodded. “Yes, yes a servant of Jezebel,” he sounded rather bored. His disinterest was suddenly replaced with the grin again when he remembered his cause. “But the Prophecy can now be fulfilled,” he whispered to himself in awe.
Victoria readjusted the torn garment, doing her best to shield her exposed skin with her cloak. “What prophecy?”
The little man rubbed his hands together anxiously. “Allow me to introduce myself Victoria,” he said ignoring her question.
“I am Grimley, a high warlock of the Nevelock. I serve a wise king and his prophets. We are on the brink of bringing wealth and prosperity back to our kingdom. Your child will be the key to our revival.”
Victoria blinked twice. “You damn fool! I don't have a child. For the eighteen years of my existence I was virgin, a servant of Jezebel up....until last night and once I am done here with you I will kill my offender as well,” she stiffened.
Grimley shook his head. “I no longer have a use for Harold, and I am sure once word gets out he is as good as dead anyways. Though the child I speak of does not exist yet. I predict she will arrive in nine months time,” Grimley paused and gave her a calculating look. “That's all it takes nine months, right?”
Victoria lunged for the old man, “You destroyed my life. I don't care who the king is, or the prophets are that you serve. In nine months I will be well buried deep in the ground, alongside my father. There will be no child. My Priestess will sentence me to crime for my betrayal!”
Grimley pushed her away softly, careful not to hurt her. “Yes, yes, well it seems we may have overlook that part of the prophecy,” he thought on it for a minute. “I got it! I shall help you escape and hide you in the Nevelock. I will allow you to raise the child for five years. On her fifth birthday I will take her to the King, where she will be raised as a princess amongst royal blood.”
Victoria stared at him bewildered.
Grimley cleared his throat. “In exchange for your cooperation and turmoil I will use my magic to persuade the Priestess of your innocence and she will take you back into her home, no questions ask. Your reputation will be salvaged,” He leaned in closer. “I can make this all seem like a bad dream.”
Victoria stared hard at Grimley. “How do I know your telling the truth?”
“Well,” he started. “Would you have slept with Harold without the influence of magic?”
Victoria felt a wave of nausea hit her. She shook her head adamantly. “Why do you want it?” she asked.
“It? Oh you mean the baby?” he laughed. “She, will be born out from a powerful union in which both holy and shadow magic reside. She will be a strong asset to my people, if I should bring them the fated one, I will be rewarded with a new title, a new position on the royal court,” Grimley said puffing out his chest proudly.
Victoria arched an eyebrow. “First, show me your true form . If you are a high warlock as you speak, You wouldn't be wearing the worn face of a merchant and the torn clothing of a peasant.”
Grimley nodded. A moment later his face began to shift. The wrinkles pulled tight. The deep set blue eyes changed to an alluring shade of green, surrounded by younger skin. His spine uncurled and he stood straight and taller.”
Victoria backed away to take in the sight of him. He was at least six foot. If Victoria had to guess his age, she would have guessed late twenties to early thirties. He had dark hair, and a short subtle beard. His lips curved upwards at the corners. He was handsome, with the looks of a predator.
Victoria head footsteps approaching the room. She needed to get out of there quickly. She extended her hand. “Alright deal.”
Grimley laughed and pulled her closer to him. In an instant the room began to swirl around them in a blurry flash. Victoria closed her eyes. When she opened them she was standing on a green grassy hill that faced an impressive castle.
“Welcome to the Nevelock,” Grimley's voice rang out behind her.