Roland and Miranda were in the throne room and Angel excused the guard. She was holding my hand tightly.
"We need to speak with you," Angel said softly. "I need you to tell David about when I-"
Before she could finish, there was yelling in the foyer. I gripped my Sword as someone burst through the door. I was too stunned to move as Ingrid used a solid ax from a suit of armor to block the door. She was holding a sword at me. There was blood on it.
"What are you doing?" I asked, standing in front of Angel.
Outside, it was storming. Ingrid was soaked to the bone.
"This is all your fault," she whispered.
"He left me! And it's all because of you!" She started to cry but also started walking towards me, sword still held up. "But I-I made sure he didn't get far."
I felt the color drain from my face. "What have you done?"
"Why couldn't you just stay in that God forsaken forest!?" she screamed at me. "Why couldn't you die like so many others!? Why couldn't you leave so that we would still have peace!? You brought the devil here!" She gulped, gripping the sword. "I will rid this kingdom of the devil," she whispered, "as soon as I rid it of the man who brought it here."
"Go Angel," I said, pushing her gently away. Ingrid didn't move. "You don't want to hurt me."
"Yes, I do," she whispered. "Everything is going wrong down in the village! But do you are!? Of course not! You're too busy up here making plans that will kill us all!"
"What's going on in the village?" She didn't answer and I sighed, taking a step toward her. "Do not try to lie to me, Ingrid Decour. Now, put the sword down and tell me what you've done with Hugo."
She sobbed but didn't lower the sword. "He tried to leave. I loved him! He said he loved me! But then you made me live in that horrible shack!"
"Hugo wouldn't leave you because of your home. He would leave you because of what you have said. He is my friend."
"Shut up!" she screeched, advancing and Angel whimpered behind me.
"Where is Hugo, Ingrid?"
She gulped. Her body was shaking. "I-I put him in the shack. I-I didn't want him to get sick in the rain. I'll make him better once you're dead!"
But she still didn't make any moves to kill me. I stayed standing, watching as her eyes betrayed her fear. Guards were pounding against the doors, trying to get them open. She looked over and I took that moment to knock the sword out of her hands.
She screamed and fell to her knees. Angel rushed to the door and tugged the ax out of the handles. Five guards spilled into the room.
"The dungeons," I said darkly and two guards picked up a crying Ingrid.
"This is wrong!" she screamed. "You don't deserve to live, David! I'm not the only one who wants you gone!"
"Send two men to the home with the potato patch," I said to another guard, my voice monotonous. "There you will find an injured young man. Bring him here and have Dr. Amelia treat him immediately."
"Don't do as he says! He's just a cowardly cripple!" we heard Ingrid scream as she was dragged away.
"Yes, your highness," the guard said and nodded to the two guards and they rushed out. "Where is Tiberius?"
"Down with the wolves. Go get him."
He bowed and hurried out, closing the doors behind him. I kept my back facing my family. My blood was pulsing through my veins and I was seeing red. My body began to shake and I looked at the cane gripped in my hand. I pressed my lips together and, with a grunt, threw the wretched piece of wood out the window. The window shattered, glass spraying out and rain pouring in.
"David!" Angel cried as I fell to my knees.
"Leave me!" I yelled, my hands balled into fists.
"David, please," Angel said.
She was coming closer as I pounded my fist on the throne room floor. With each punch, I felt a little piece of my anger release. Angel's hands touched my back but I shook them off.
"David," she begged.
"I said leave me!"
I tossed my had back to move her, but my hand struck flesh. I froze and heard her stumble.
"Angel," Miranda gasped.
I stood with difficulty and turned, my eyes wide. Angel was holding her cheek and trying to push her mother off of her. Roland was staring at me in disbelief. I took a few steps back, horrified at what I had just done. I fled out into the rain.
I tripped on the stairs and fell face first into the mud. It had begun to hail but I welcomed the pain of the ice crashing down on my skin. I knew I would be bruised or, if I was lucky, it would kill me. I closed my eyes.
Then I heard a loud crashing noise.
"Get up, David," Tiberius said.
"Leave me," I mumbled.
"Come on," Roland said.
They each grabbed one of my arms but I shook them away.
"I deserve this," I said. "I hit my wife."
"Just come inside," Roland said, his voice shaking.
I let them drag me to my feet. They had put together a few shields and were using them as protection from the hail. I hung my head as they led me into the castle and up to my bedchamber. Tiberius opened the door and he and Roland set me on my feet then left. I looked up and fell to my knees, sobbing.
Angel was standing in the middle of the room, her hands folded in front of her. Her hair was tucked behind her ear and I could see the bruise. The bruise I had caused.
"I'm so sorry," I cried, crawling to her and gripping the hem of her skirts. "Oh, Angel! I'm so sorry! Please forgive me!"
She knelt in front of me and put a hand on my shoulder.
"David," she whispered.
"I can't do it! I can't control it!"
"David," she said firmly.
"I'm not strong enough to fight him!"
"David, stop." her tone was sharp and I stopped talking. "Look at me."
I shook my head. "I can't," I whispered. "I am too ashamed."
She put her hands on either side of my face and had me look up. I couldn't read the look in her eyes. She brushed my tears away.
"I'm sorry," she said and I leaned away.
"What? Why are you sorry?"
"It was the only way I could help you," she said.
"I-I don't understand."
"Regret," she said. "It is how I learned when I was young. It is how you have learned now."
"What do you mean?"
"Are you going to hit me again?" she asked.
"Of course not!"
"Are you going to hit my father? My mother? Sally?"
"No! I will never do this again."
I stared in dismay at the bruise on her cheek.
She sighed and stood, walking to the door. She opened it and Roland walked in, looking very morose.
"Show him, Daddy," she whispered, helping me up and into a chair.
"Are you sure about this?" he asked and she nodded.
She gave me a towel and dug around in our closet. Roland hesitated before tugging his shirt up. There was an inch long scar on his side. I frowned at it and Angel took my shirt off.
"Do you remember how I told you my father tried to teach me how to use a sword?" she asked as she applied some ointment to the bruises from the hail. I nodded. "When I was 15, my father wouldn't let me marry someone. I thought I was in love. The man ended up being a potential assassin but that came later. He convinced me there was one way for us to be together and gave me a dagger."
Her hands were shaking so Roland took over in taking care of the bruises. He didn't speak but his face was sad.
"I snuck into his room in the middle of the night but he was expecting me. We got into an argument. I was so angry. I always had a short temper but, not, my father was getting in the way of my happiness. Or so I thought."
"It was much like what happened with you and Ingrid," Roland picked up when Angel couldn't continue. "I knew she didn't really want to kill me. I tried to talk to her about it but, as she said, it turned into a fight. The next thing I knew, a dagger was sticking out of my side." Angel sat down heavily in the other chair. "She screamed, alerting the guards."
There was silence aside from the hail hitting the windows. Roland stood behind Angel and put a hand on her shoulder.
"I put myself in the dungeons," she whispered. "I deserved it. I had attacked the king. He came to visit me and we had a very long conversation. I apologized just as the guards ran in, announcing that the man I wanted to marry tried to kill my mother. They let me out and we ran upstairs. He jumped from the second floor and broke his ankles. He was hung three days later. I felt like I should be hung, as well, and almost demanded the guards do it."
She sighed. "I am so ashamed of what I did still," she said and her father gripped her shoulder tightly. "But, ever since then, I've kept my temper at bay. When I feel like lashing out, I can see my father kneeling in his bedroom, staring at the dagger I had plunged into him." She leaned forward and took my hands in hers. "I stepped in the way of your hand so you would strike me just like my father didn't have me taken away as soon as he saw the blade in my hand. Some of the most important lessons are learned in the hardest ways."
"I'm so sorry," I sobbed, hanging my head.
She stood and put her arms around me. I put my head in her bosom. I heard Roland shut the door quietly behind him and I held her tightly.