A young man named Adrian, raised on a farm, is violently thust into an unforgiving world of wrath and deception. With his only help coming from a half Nymph woman named Caelwyn, will Adrian be able to save the world that suddenly rests in his hands?
Madison’s bare feet stung with the bitter cold of the winter evening. Though many fires burned in the castle in the bleak season, the stone from which the foundations of the Palace were carved never seemed to warm. It seemed strange to her that something so trivial could actually meander into her thoughts at this exact moment in time.
Tears, hot as they poured from her eyes, scoured down her cheeks, falling onto the white apron that covered her simple brown dress. She couldn’t seem to make herself draw a full enough breath to scream, though she new that’s what she should be doing. She should have been screaming.
But all she could do was run.
It didn’t make sense that someone could do something that horrible. The viscera, the blood… The room had been torn apart, as though there had been some kind of struggle. Limbs from the deceased had been scattered across the room, as though in a fit of deathly rage.
Madison gasped a breath as a hot wave of nausea swept up, allowing bile to rise up in her throat. She couldn’t make sense of what she had seen. But she knew it was the Queen. As mutilated as her body had been, Madison could not mistake that woman.
Queen Cecilia may have ruled with an iron fist, but if anyone had known her for the kind and selfless woman she was, it would have been Madison. She had been taken into the Palace as a work girl, as most of the servants often were. Orphans, or abandoned children. Broken children. The Queen took them in, and in return for the mending of socks for the Royal Guard, or for the aid of bringing items to guests they were given food and a warm home.
Madison had always been appreciative of the action, but when she had been advanced from a simple washwoman to the Queens assistant, she had really come to love the Queen for who she really was. Not just because she was Aerondil’s ruler, but also because she had become a friend and a confidant.
Now it was all gone to ashes.
Madison finally managed to gasp a sob as she proceeded to run through the empty, lifeless corridors. She knew she only had to make it to a patrolling guard, but they all seemed so far. Her lungs burned, and it felt like she had been fleeing from the royal chambers for hours. It could have only been mere minutes. But why hadn’t she spotted one of the Royal Guard yet? Suddenly, Madison’s level of panic was starting to rise.
That’s when she spotted the second body. She didn’t personally know the guard, but from the way his throat was slit all the way through to his spine, it pushed her over the edge. Gasping and panting, Madison fell to her knees by the body and began to vomit. The coppery reek of blood filled the chilled hallway.
When she at last managed to finish her wrenching, she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. She used the ornately carved leg of a wooden table to lift herself to her shaking legs. Only then did her eyes take in everything in the Palace hallway.
The white marble floors were littered with the armoured bodies of men. Blood pooled around each and every one of the corpses, suggesting they had all been killed in the same brutal manner: throats slit, and discarded. She couldn’t understand what could drive a person to commit such unspeakable acts.
The polished stone hallways had always provided her with a sense of comfort and protection, even though cold winds often chilled the Palace. But now the cold of the hallways served only to further her fear. Madison stood stock still as she had the mental image of the castle being some huge, undead beast… and the corridors she knew and loved being its filthy, freezing intestines. She felt as though the entire world had been swallowed up into the depths of Hell, and everything had gone insane.
The once beautiful architecture, the elaborate tapestries hung from the stone walls, the oil paintings that portrayed the simple life in Aerondil… They were all now marred with the lingering scent of murder in cold blood. All of the highest-ranking Royal Guard, those that protected the Queen herself, now lay dead in this corridor, throats slit in the most gruesome manner.
Madison had never seen something so unholy. Her skin began to tingle with gooseflesh as she realized what this really meant: The Queen’s death hadn’t been some… horrible accident or some random murder of passion. This had been planned, and carried out. This had been a cold, calculated, and arranged assassination.
It was then that Madison finally managed to do something she’d been trying to do since she’d seen the dismembered body of her Queen.