One decision could change everything...
Everything was coming at a blur--things were occuring at a speed I could not yet comprehend. Men were screaming and throwing spears like brutes, as beasts defending their kingdom. I couldn't find my only hope of survival, my lifeline, my Ali. I really did not belong on the battlefield like my sister did.
Ali where could you be?
And suddenly, I was on the ground. I turned and saw an arrow skidding across the stone floor, coated in thick purple liquid--poison. A soldier dressed in the uniform of the merciless LifeGivers qiuckly pulled another arrow from his quiver and loaded it into his bow. In a moments notice I mentally checked myself to see if I had been scratched by the arrow, which would have been plenty enough to kill me. I suddenly felt someones breath on my neck and I shuddered. I remained still and did not look back at the breather behind me. The soldier reared his arm back and his deadly weapon aimed at my forehead.
I watched in horror as he released his hold and the arrow flew towards my face. I winced, and I heard a whoosh sound.
Ha! The archer missed!
"Watch what you are doing, Libby." Ali whispered in my ear. I turned briskly from the soldier and stared at Ali, my face inches from his. His green eyes struck my body cold, leaving me frozen in place. Oh, the beauty. I soon realized that Ali had pushed me down, out of the way of the poisoned weapon. He pushed me down until my back touched the ground and pulled a dagger from my boot, one of the three I kept on me. He tossed the knife at the opponant, and I didn't see if it hit him, but I heard the wet sound as it broke through his skin. I felt Ali's arms around me, lifting me off the ground, and suddenly my feet were in the air.
"What are you doing?" I shouted in his face. He didn't respond, he just moved forward and started jogging towards an alfalfa cart, which had been abandoned in the street the minute the evacuation bell had begun to ring.
He dropped me into the alfalfa, and I immediatly began to sink until I was out of sight. I felt the weight shift as Ali sunk in beside me.
"I am saving you, as you seem to have no idea what you are doing." He said, answering my question. His voice was muffled by the hay seperating us.
"What are you talking about. I am alive, am I not?" I said.
"You wouldn't be if I hadn't pushed you out of the way of that arrow, did you see how thickly the archer layed on the poison?"
We quieted down for a moment as we heard footsteps--a sound that could only belong to the fat leather boots of the LifeGivers--Otherwise known as the kingdom's lifelong foes.
"I saw her not even a moment ago, sir." The voice was slightly high and marked with a very Northern accent. "I swear...It is like she just dissapeared."
"Find her, soldier, I have better things to do then to stand around staring at a bail of hay."
"I am sorry master." the soldier said, his voice marked with remorse.
The men departed, their heavy footsteps differing so much from the likeness of the Kingdom of Shai's. We bore slippers of light leather, not much different than the mocassins of the natives. The sound these produced were light and almost silent--shoes designed specifically for hunters and beings wishing to remain unseen.
The alfalfa began to shift and, without warning, a hand covered my mouth and started to pull me. I screamed, the sound was nothing though. The hand and the alfalfa together muffled the sound too much.
"Shh!" Ali hushed me. I realized it was his hand pulling me towards him. Suddenly that my body was pressed against his, and I scooted backwards awkwardly, feeling nervous by our sudden closeness.
Ali spoke up suddenly, a sharp whisper. "We must remain quiet. Those men were obviously looking for you." I nodded and he smiled at me. He raised a gloved hand and lightly brushed my cheek. "That's my girl."
He paused, obviously thinking about my decision again. I know he had dissagreed with it, prohibited it at first, but I refused to listen.
"You are so brave, Elizabeth..."He said. His voice was sad and I realized how badly my decision had affected him. I had forgotten how close we had grow over the last few months, and I knew that wherever I woukd end up after today, I would miss Ali dearly. I knew that I would forever resent that I would no longer see Ali or my family or my friends,and I was secure in my feelings. But I had never thought about how this choice would affect those who love me.
"Alistair, you know my desicion is mandatory in order for my sister to live." I whispered to him.
We sat like this is silence for a moment. Cheers rang out over the sounds of the seemingly endless fighting, and we knew the battle was over. I grinned and Ali mimicked my expression, and we sat there like fools, beaming at eachother. Footsteps overshadowed the cheers and hollering outside--retreiting footsteps that were the LifeGivers.
"Is it true?" I whispered, my remark breaking the silence between us. "Is the war really over?"
Ali grinned. '"Let us find out." He suddenly rose from the alfalfa cart, and I followed in suit. I stood until my head poked out of the hay. I looked out into the centre, and everywhere I looked I saw people dancing, singing, laughing, all my people. My soldiers, my warriors, my knights. I realized with relief that only our veterans were present, and that all the villagers remained in the castle owned by the royal family, where they lay in protection from the war.
I looked over to Ali and said, "Why have the villagers not made their way out to the centre yet? Have they not recieved word of our victory?"
Ali stared into my eyes for a moment. "I am not sure they want to leave yet. Althought they could if they felt it right." He paused for a moment, his eyes reflecting disgust. "It is grotesque that bloodshed has just occured in their own centre, where they would normally feel safe. Where they sell goods and products, men were slaughtered brutally. Where their children play games with mates, a soldiers throat was sliced in a moments notice." Ali turned away from the centre, his back to the rejoicing knights, and mindlessly wove a hay strand around his fingers. "They are scared of their own protectors." He whispered. He had always been so proud of what he did, defending the royal family. But the villagers never approved of him or his fellow knights. They all believed the bloodshed was unecessary and that it onlu provoked the LifeGivers. Ali was an underappreciated hero.
I stared at his hands as they worked furiously at the hay as if in a trance. It went around and around his fingers, over and over again. Up and down, in and out. Over and over and over. The hay reminded me of our lives in the kingdom, a seemingly endless cycle with little variation. We just do the same thing over an over again until finally, someone just-
The strand snapped suddenly in two, and I jumped. Ali threw the peices of hay over the cart and threw himself over the side, landing softly on his feet. He held his hand out to help me out as well.
"Let's get out of here." He said. I grabbed his hand and he hoisted me over the hay. My foot got caught on the wooden panel and I fell into his arms, my head landing inbetween his shoulder and his neck. He wrapped his arms around my waist and stumbled backwards.
"My apologies...." I mumbled into his shoulder. I pushed myself away from him and kept my eyes to the ground.
"Erm..you are forgiven." Ali's voice was weak and shaken. He sounded nervous.
"I have...business." I said weakly, reffering to my duty--my decision. I finally looked into his eyes, and they were filled with terror.
"Do not go yet, Libby. I am not ready." He grabbed my wrists and backed me into a wall, his face just moments from mine.
I shook my head, looking down again. "Prepare yourself, soldier." I whispered darkly.
Ali sighed and he squeezed my wrists lightly.
"As you wish." He whisoered.
I felt the pressure release from my wrists and move to my cheeks as Ali grabbed my face and pulled it towards his. His soft lips met mine, and I just felt them. I was unmoving and unresponsive for a moment, a sI was taken aback by the action.
Until suddenly I lost all control. My mind snapped as I realized the full weight of what I was going to do. I would give my life for a sister I have never known? I would give up Ali and everything for a women who probably had never even spoken my name. My hands left my sides and my fingers knotted into Ali's hair.
Ali pressed me futher into the wall, and his hands moved down to my waist. I froze and placed my hands on his chest, lightly pushing him away. He pulled back and sheepishly looked away, avoiding my eyes.
"I..." he stopped, words had escaped him.
"Ali...this is bad." I whispered. He was still dangerously close to me, and my heart screamed for me to hold him, but my head ordered me to stay completely still.
"I have to go." I said to him sharply. I dared not to look into his eyes, as I knew what horrors lay there.
"Libby." He mumbled, "Can I have but one more word before you....depart?"
I turned slightly away from him, urgent to leave. "Of course, Ali."
He pursed his lips and bravely looked me in the eye.
"I love you."
On the outside, I did not let any emotions escape and make themselves evident. I pushed all my feelings down and down until I became numb. Almost to numb to reply.
I didn't look back again. I didn't see how my harsh goodbye had marked Ali. I just left without a second word, turning on my heal towards the centre, into the crowd of rejoicing knights. He did not even try to stop me, he just stayed by the alfalfa cart and left me as my own.
Dong dong dong
I felt dread spread through my whole being as the town clock rang out, calling that it was finally high noon.
It was my time to die.
I felt uneasy as I looked around the moving bodies of the neverending sea of knights, searching for my executioner, whom has promised to show himself at high noon. I did not know who he was or what he even looked like, but he said I would know who he was when I saw him. Not one man's face stood out as I searched, though. Everyone blended together as one big...One big blah.
But then, out of the blue, I has found him. But I didn't see him fist. All I did was feel.
Pain spread through adbomen, tortuous pain ripping througn my body relentlessly, knocking me off my feet. I expected to land on the hard stone ground, but instead landed in someone's arms.
I recognized the man immediately because of his crimson eyes. I remembered him from old stories my father used to tell me about the acursed man, back before any of us knew we were of royal decent. And back also before I was banished.
But that was all they were back then, just old stories. Why was it proving itself to be real now?
His name was Dorian, who had given up his soul to the devil to live a full and extroidanary life. Before he lost himself, he was known as the town player. Every woman he would meet he would attempt to seduce. Every weekend he would play betting games in the pub.
That is, until he met the swinder. She was the devil disguised as a beautiful woman. She convinced Dorian to give up his soul by taunting him with her body. She had promised him an extraordinary life. Of course, he was tricked, and the devil did give him an extroidanary life, but not in the exact same way Dorian would have preffered.
He stole Dorian's soul and left in its wake a spirit of cruelty and evil. But the Spirit grew tired of Dorians town and left his body. Dorian was depressed and empty, and tried to commit suicide, but soon learned he had become immortal.
And here he was, holding me in his arms after I had fallen, his eyes holding cold fury that looked to have been there for ages.
"Fool child." He muttered. "You are such an ignorant girl. Giving up yourself for another; exactly what that Devil would have wanted."
"Dorian..." I whispered in disbelief. His brow furrowed into one consistant line.
"My name has not been spoken to me for centuries." He said whistfully, his gaze slipping away from my face momentarilly.
"Release me immediately." I spoke the words painfully between my teeth, causing him to snap his attention back to me.
He hesitated, but carefully let me out of his grasp. I got a look at my surroundings as he lowered my to the cobblestone floor. Hundreds of helpless knights surrounded me, all of them concerned for my well being, yet none of them educated in the arts of aid.
"Is that Princess Athena?" one mumbled.
"It can't be! Yet...She looks just like her."
"What is she doing outside the castle?"
"Milady Athena, how can we help?"
I threw my hands up over my ears, silently willing the soldiers to shut up.
My body ached and I just wanted to lie on the ground and sleep. The knights incessant chatter was clouding my thoughts, leaving me irrascable. My hands shook as I balled them into fists.
My sudden shout brought a hush throughout the entire crowd and they stared at me incredulously.
One brave knight put his finger in the air and spoke. "Milady, it seems you need medical assistance."
I glared at him. "I am aware of this, sir. You are out of line."
The Knight stepped back into the crowd sheepishly, cowering under my glare.
I put one of my arms over my eyes in an act to calm myself. My pain was beginning to broaden, spreading throughout my entire body. I heard a huge crack of thunder louder than anything roam across the sky, and I moved my arm from my face. I had not previously noticed the heavy stormclouds looming ominously in the sky, threating rain in any moment.
I felt the first few drops of rain patter onto my legs, then stomach, then chest and face.
I welcomed the weather as an omen of goodbye, as if the Gods had recognized my leaving.
A wave a pain racked its way raggedly through my body, and I idly wondered why I wasn't dead yet. I shuddered as I stared down at my body, at the arrow protruding from just underneath my breasts, hardly missing any vital organs. The arrow was painful, but overall, it was harmless.
I sighed, and with it, I released a great long sob. "Oh, just let me die!"
Dorian placed a shaking hand on my forehead, and flinched. I had forgotten he was there. I had forgotten anyone was there.
"Oh, child, you don't want that. At least, not yet." He whispered evilly. A malicious grin spread across his face and a wierd feeling passed over me. I braced myself for some sort of healing spell that he would release from his fingertips, or even a poison he would release on me from some dark magic that would kill me in seconds.
But instead, I felt...nothing.
"What did you just do to me?" I demanded.
He shrugged. "What did you expect?" He chuckled darkly and rose to his feet,
(Unfinished, I will coninue...eventually. Thank you SO much for reading!)