The sound of heavy footsteps coming down the stone stairs gave time for Kyran collect his emotions. He searched for the little corner of his mind that would allow him to shut out everything around him, and just focus on his keeping his breathing steady.

The click of a key opening the steel doors was the signal for Kyran to get up from his bed and stand in the middle of his prison and wait for the guards.

Inhale.The creak of the steel doors sounded like an earthquake in his ears.

Exha-Kyran had expected one of the prison guards to escort him out, but standing in front of him were two of his father’s Hands standing like stone statues in the doorway.

Not much is known about the Hands, Serik had taught him once that the Hands were a group of elite soldiers. Children from families in poverty were kidnapped by the palace guards and for years are forced to torture, fight and kill each other until only the best four were alive and ready to do the dirty work of the King. The Hands were the enforcers of the law, they carried out the death sentences and they assassinated anyone that the King thought were a threat.

These two men were completely identical, the thin line of their mouths were set exactly the same, their height, the breadth of shoulders and their thin frames suggested that these particular Hands used their powers more than their combat skills. The only difference was their eyes, one man had grey eyes and the other had dark brown, and yet they both had the same hardness to them.

Kyran watched them like a hawk, his body ready to protect himself at the slightest of hand twitches as they turned on their heels and walked towards the exit of the dungeon. He followed them without a word or a protest, he began to breathe again but all thoughts of keeping it steady had long since disappeared.

Kyran concentrated on nothing but the two soldiers, until finally they were outside and the sun’s heat comforted him as if it thought he had done nothing wrong. The massive crowd gave way to Kyran as he and the soldiers made their way to the centre of the plaza. He looked around at the crowd; some were brave enough to openly cry while the rest dropped a single white rose at Kyran’s feet.

A white rose was a sign of luck.

It didn’t take long until the Plaza was in full view, at the centre a large stage with two poles adjacent to each other sat opposite of the Head Sister, Nataya, who was waiting for him to step into the Circle that she had drawn earlier.

Kyran had met Nataya before and had nearly forgotten how beautiful she was, her long dark red hair waved down to the small of her back, her height toward over most noblemen and her eyes were a beautiful silver colour. But now that she was dressed as the Head Sister Kyran found her to be intimidating and sinister. Being the Head Sister, Nataya wore a silver band across her head with four coloured stones that dangled in the middle of her forehead. Each stone represented one of the four main elements of power which were fire, water, earth and air. It was the sign of her power and strength.

Tearing his eyes from Nataya, Kyran could see his family sitting on their elevated seats, his mother held a handkerchief up to her eyes, his younger sister, Sariel, looked bored as she watched on and his father, the King, watched stone faced and unemotional.

Everyone would say how different he and Sariel were in looks and personality. Sariel was so much like their father, although her looks were their mothers – softer features, snow white hair and dark blue eyes – her personality and strength came from their father. Kyran was the spitting image of the King and yet his personality was most like his mothers.

Sariel was their father’s favourite and both of them knew that if she had been born before Kyran, she would replace their father when he died, even though she was a girl. 

The End

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