Chapter 16Mature

Lilliana climbed up to the top deck of the Burning Ember, the Keep looking down upon her. Lilliana shuddered, the Keep could be frightening to some, and to others it was a bastion of hope and protection. Her dark hair blew in the salt tainted wind, as she looked up, dark storm clouds were slowly advancing towards the capital. 

"Admiral, looks like there's a massive storm comin'. It won't be good for the ships in the harbor." A deckhand said, looking up at the clouds with uncertainty. 

"Indeed, but the Burning Ember is meant to take damage. We'll be fine, just as long as Vandresa gets in and out." Lilliana smiled, "Yes, I do believe that this will make a beautiful place of residence."

As the deckhand and Lilliana were continuing their conversation, the bells of the Keep rang. Lilliana looked in horror, guards were marching towards the Keep. She turned quickly on her heel and ran down to the lower deck and grabbed her bow. 

"Lilliana, where are you going?" the deckhand asked. 

Lilliana ignored the deckhand and ran off the ship, attempting to blend in with the guards. She observed the guards as they ran and came to the conclusion that they were heading for the Keep. 

Lilliana wiped the sweat from her brow, fearing that the worst had happened and that Vandresa was caught and their plan was ruined. The throng came closer and closer to the Keep, the Tower of the Queen soon towered over them. Lilliana was almost certain that she could see some sort of figure standing in the window. 

*****

Maven and Vandresa sat at a small table in the Keep's garden, sipping on wine. Vandresa looked over at the Tower of the Queen, noticing the figure which was standing by the window. Maven looked back at Vandresa and smiled. Vandresa on the other hand, kept a sullen face and took another sip of her wine. 

"So, the King is dead I hear." Vandresa said, finally breaking the silence.

"Yes." Maven replied quickly.

Vandresa laughed for a moment, then silenced herself. For a brief moment, Vandresa thought about it. Finally finishing the deed. While Maven had her head turned, Vandresa grabbed the hilt of her dagger, slowly bringing it closer to herself, making sure that it remained out of sight. 

Vandresa breathed slowly, this was it, she thought to herself. Vandresa stood up and walked over to Maven. "My dearest aunt, I have a message from King's Point." 

Maven looked at her, her face full of curiousity. "And what does it say?" 

Vandresa laughed for a moment, then pulled the dagger out. "They say, 'Gods save Vandresa, the one true Queen!'"

Maven, for a moment looked shocked. She simply took a breath and then stood up. "Well, you've come all this way. Well done. You see Vandresa, the only thing is that we knew about this plot quite some time ago. The throne will remain mine, now I give you this small offer," Maven paused for a minute, "leave the city and sail back to King's Point, and when the raven arrives that you have returned, I will send a large sum of gold." 

Vandresa laughed, "You think I'd take gold over that precious throne of yours? You are clearly mad. I will take what is rightfully mine, and I will take it by any means necessary." 

Vandresa thrusted the dagger into Maven. The moment the blade hit her, the blade shattered. Slowly, Vandresa began to walk backwards, then turning on her heel. Vandresa tried to make an escape, but fell on the ground. 

"Vandresa, here's a word of the wise. A little bit of armor never hurt anyone." Maven pulled out the small dagger that she had taken from her dead husband and approached Vandresa. Vandresa turned around, staring at Maven. 

Rage filled Maven's eyes. She tightly gripped the dagger, approaching Vandresa even quicker now. By then, Vandresa had gotten back on her feet, but was trapped by a bush. Tears streamed down Vandresa's eyes as she watched her aunt come closer and closer to her. 

"My dearest niece, the Kingdom of Esses as a message for you." Maven laughed, swinging the dagger around, "Stay the fuck out of my city, you lowlife piece of shit."

Vandresa simply stood there, helpless. She knew there was nothing else she could do. She tried to play the same deadly game that her aunt had played, only difference was, her aunt won. 

"Your grace!" A guard shouted.

Maven hid the dagger, then turning on her heel. "What is it?" 

"There's been a fire! A ship in the other port, a drunken deckhand dropped his torch in the lower decks, and it caught the wood. Hundreds of ships will be destroyed." The guard said quickly.

"Thank you for telling me. I will see to it that reparations are made in due time." Maven said, dismissing the guard.

Maven turned back around, only to notice that Vandresa had escaped. "Damn!" 

Maven walked back to the table to finish her wine, then took her leave. She know had a very dangerous enemy within her walls, and now she had just vanished in thin air. 

"Hello, Maven."

The End

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