Hello everyone and thank you for reading. This month’s lost tale is from another of the three extended scenes from my newest book, “Lineage”. Hope all is well, thank you for the support a again, it means a lot.
Cool wisps of a summer breeze embraced the environs of Grelldrin, whisper upon whisper, the native trees swayed. Though another sound couldn’t be heard besides, least of all the playful cries of three children green to the world played among the brush and river greens.
Wisps of clouds hung low as if they too desired to play. Floating around all of them, they stayed. One of the three children splashed the water, brisk to the air, crystal blue water deluged others around, not just their friends. For hours they played, without a care in the world. Ignorant, they were to the dangers lurking within the shadows.
Soon, they’d see just how perilous the wilds can be. As the three children had their fun, the boy and girl with the third child, another girl of chestnut of hair, a glow of fire about her as she climbed atop a lesser precipice to those of the high fells of Skylarieas Falls, at the stream’s edge. Looking down upon them, she had their attention.
How can she be our princess, the girl thought to herself as she continued to see the other girl upon the fell’s pinnacle, fifty feet in the air, look at her, she’s not worthy of the title, honestly look at her.
“Firena, come down from there!” The girl screamed at the top of her lungs. To her surprise, Firena didn’t listen to her. Then again, who was she kidding, the younger girl barely heeded her parents. She’s a free spirit, should have known, might as well try and tame the wind, good luck then.
Having a running head start, Firena darted straight thru. Free falling down into the stream below, the young girl endured, like thread slide through a needle, her landing in a smooth sail. Kicking her legs, swimming to the surface, Firena saw her friends beside the shore, open-mouthed.
“What’s wrong?” She asked curiously as she caught her breath. And just as she climbed out of the water, she received her answer. In lesser distance in between she saw them, tall men garbed in silver and black, with weapons drawn running their way.
About to run for an assist, Firena found she couldn’t move. Looking at what had impeded her efforts to gather reinforcements, she found two sets of hands a clasped upon both of her arms. Revealed to her there and now, Firena realized they weren’t her friends, that they were just using her, to climb the rungs of a higher social ladder. Alone she could have taken them down, but with both grabbing a hold of her, her efforts grew tired. When the foul men emblazoned with a fell dragon descended, the deserters shoved her forth, and on her hands and knees, she fell at their feet.
“They’re here for you.” She heard her former friend say as his hand brushed against her face. “Cleta and I need to get home. It is better you than us, forgive me for what I’m about to do.”
Gresham, your wishful thinking is a fool’s errand. How can I forgive those who have betrayed my trust… who used me for their own aims…no I’ll never forgive you for this.
Jerking her face away from his touch, his foul breath on her skin, Firena kicked him where stars will find his eyes faster than he could run. And when Cleta had come to her friend’s defense, about to bring him to his feet, she found an arrow lodged in her stomach.
Eyes widened in fear, his body racking with sobs, Gresham rocked Cleta in his arms. That was until another man cut him down. With both of them laying there dying, Firena was roughly being brought to her feet. A fierce pain rush thru both of her arms as they were tethered behind her back.
Grabbing a hold of her chin, forcing her to look upon him, the leader among the wicked multitude sneered. “Finish them. We have what we came for.” The demon in a man’s attire hissed. Soon as the order came, the will was carried out. Cleta and Gresham were gone within a single arrow through the heart.
Gresham and Cleta betrayed her trust and their covenant to their sovereigns that held their fealty, but that didn’t mean she wished them dead. Yes, they were deserters, although her sense of honor rung true, a traitor’s life would suffice. A moment spent, and they were off.
Struggling against her bonds, but to no avail, Firena caught someone else in the corner of her eye. Keeping her eyes from gazing upon the person she happened to see, Firena closed her eyes and within a moment’s pause, she opened them in a second hence only to find her sister gone from sight.
I’m sorry Nerys, but I couldn’t have them find you. Firena thought as the strong guards dragged her further away. May the gods protect you until I return, she said under her breath.
Thanking the gods, for answering her prayer to save her sister from the shadow that threatened their shores, Firena continued to fight. Leaving Nerys behind is not in her plans, nor will they ever be.
Until exhaustion took hold, the young girl found her escape futile. But the fires within kept her going, the wisps of wind delved the fire deeper still. No waters could douse the flames, only clouds of mist climbed inside and out.
For she made a solemn vow, one she intends to keep.She will return. Within an hour their ship was in sight.
Shoved roughly aboard the deck, one of the bosons took her from there. And in second’s pulse, the anchor was pulled and off they went.
Meanwhile below deck, the boson led Firena to the back of the ship. Kicking his foot behind her knees, she fell. The hard wood bared no mercy upon her, and just like those who stole her away, a cruel surge struck a nerve.
Not once will she give them the satisfaction of her screams, or the pains they’ll rain down upon her. She may be a girl of twelve years of age, but her vow stays intact. Defiance is her middle name, or so her mother told her earlier that day. A fair tremble betrayed her, her back felt like a fusillade of arrows rained down upon her. The boson’s three-pronged steel lash cut deep within her skin. For a while she contained her screams, but by the fifteenth round, she couldn’t withstand it any longer. A scream of pain betrayed her.
On the thirtieth, the boson stayed his hand, and whispered. “Soon your spirit is going to be a broken shard.” Whimpering at his touch upon her injuries, Firena staved her concern.
If he thought for one second, that he broke her spirit, a wave of disappointment will greet him each and every time. She has to be strong now, not just for herself but for her family and friends. Giving in will only bring more heartache and truth be known, she’s a fighter and no matter what happens she always will be.
Respite given, and a healer tending to her wounds so they wouldn’t fester, the boson locked Firena inside a prison cell. After the healer applied a few healing salves to her wounds, binding them with clean cloths, they left, locking the cell door behind them. Just able to catch a glimpse of the lands she has been born to, slipped through a grasp held so tightly. In her mind’s eye, her inner strength stood on divided grounds. Memories of those she held so dear, clung to the threads of her heart, keeping her safely on her feet.
Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with both her heart and soul, her inner strength followed. For months she had endured the torments of the boson’s lash and the cruelty in wake of the others on the ship. Demons cackled in the night, fiends traveled as a beacon in the morn, there was no escape. Coasts foreign to her eyes came in sight, didn’t take long.
Heavy footsteps carried across the floor. Might as well be a boulder dancing, it was so heavy, or at least seems so. Ever since her morning agony, her mind has been scattered and divided. Better than delving in full-bodied anguish, with only a flicker of movement, her entire form inside and out cried out for the pain to stop.
No avail, the pleas fell unheeded. These people, these terrible people will not get away this, she believed through every fiber of her being. Keeping herself together, her own personal mortar mending the divide within, Firena turned her gaze to look upon a savage berserker of a man standing rushed afore her prison door.
Ripping the door wide open, almost forgetting his own strength, the cutthroat’s advance shook the evil men behind him nerves. Surveying her injuries, down to the last cut and bruise he saw upon her face, his jaw tightened. His well-built arms stiffened in turn.
“It’s alright, there’s no need to be afraid of me.” The cutthroats’ leader said as he cupped her cheek gently in his hand. Barely waiting a second, he turned his attention back to his men. “Who is responsible for this atrocity?” Nothing, did they think silence would spare them his wrath.
Sadly mistaken, they will be sure of that soon enough. And sure enough, within a blink of the eye, he unsheathed his sword, turning half circle and smacked the nearest guard in the face.
Hurrying his step, clutching the side of his face, the boson shrunk back in fear, a steady flow of blood slid from his cheek. “Lord Medryk, forgive me I didn’t mean for her —” The boson tried but failed miserably.
The one he called Medryk kicked him in the ribs. Leaning forth, his lips a small distance from the boson’s ear, he whispered. “I gave everyone direct orders, the girl was not to be harmed unless I said otherwise, Ihrenyn.” Drawing his sword back, giving the boson another kick in the ribs, Medryk snapped his fingers.
In moment without hesitation, Ihrenyn was roughly brought to his feet. Two of his captain’s crew restrained him. One of his personal guards swung his fist into his gut, just shy of colliding with his ribs. “Such a simple task and yet you fail me as you have my father before me.”
Ihrenyn tried to speak on his behalf but before he could get a word in, the other one’s fist collided with his gut. Sinking to his knees, the pain too much to bear, the boson’s strength depleted. Given a wordless order, Medryk’s guards threw Ihrenyn outside. They knew what to do with those who disobeyed the orders of their sovereign. Knowing full well, what awaited them should they cross him.
Certain death, that’s what awaited them. Father like son, isn’t that what most of the latter have said before. Yes, it is. At least from their perspective, however recent events and past ones must be taken into consideration. Medryk Cydrenn ruled over his father’s lands with an iron fist. And the compassion of a wildfire to match, that’s what, they had to look forward to. When he turned his attention upon Firena once more…Medryk freed her and grabbed her by the forearm, handing her over to his horde. “Please, escort our guest inside— and have a healer tend to her injuries.” He said before he took his leave.
Keeping a firm grip upon her arms, Medryk’s men led her outside. Yet what came next shook her thru heart and soul. There, tending to the wide fields as far as the eye could see upon the hillside… were vast multitudes of people. One stood out above the rest, a lone woman staggered across the open road, she could barely stand.
She too bore wounds upon her, years of age laid deep in the soil. How many years have come and gone, Firena didn’t know but what happened drove the first dagger through her heart. The woman fell under the lash of a boson surveying the work of the multitude. A final blow to her back ruined another of innocence.
As the guards walked past the woman, led Firena beside them, and what the woman did surprised her. Humbled and shaken, more of which she’d no idea, beside the woman sunk back to her knees and bowed her head, a murmur just loud enough for herself and Firena to hear.
Much to another surprise, Firena heard… “Save us, child, only you can help us, please we need your strength.” Who was this woman, and how did she know who she is. She’s never met her before. Sure, she’s heard of prophets and the prophecies they’ve seen and written in the many archives of the world.
She’s only a girl of twelve, what could this woman believe she could do… shaking her head in her mind’s eye, Firena dismissed it. Then she heard it, again and again, the woman’s words resonated down a line of men, women and children dressed like the first enslaved person she saw. Hundreds of hundreds of people, slaves to the will of these evil men, the young maiden comprehended where she was, a realm of fiends where there was no escape.
Shoving her through the massive obsidian gates, the vanguard’s leaders led the way, with her not far behind. Corridors beyond corridors, the hall almost making her head spin, so many twists and turns, by the time they got where destination held, Firena fell. Her wounds taken their toll, plunged a hot branding rod down her skin, raw and aching with every motion hence, brought tears to her eyes. But none broke her spirit.
As much as she wanted to give in, she didn’t, she had others to think about not just her. Nerys, needed a sister, a mother, theirs was not much of one. Nearly raised her, herself, that’s how bad it had been. Beside the point, she thought. Look after her, Seryaina. Brought into reality, Firena felt the harsh stones under her knees.
“Lord Evirek will see you soon, child. He’s looked forward to meeting you.” One of the guards said haughtily, while one of his own unlocked the room door. After getting a good look around, Firena saw where the guards have taken her, the castle’s oubliette. Greeted by silence, Firena found herself surrounded.
Dozens of men, women and children were huddled along the walls. A near shadow and flame honed their fears, bringing them to life. What a cruel fate this is. No one should have to endure such pain and sorrow, there’s no excuse for this, never this.
Beckoning one of the slaves to their feet, the guard addressed a woman dark of hair, closed the distance in between. “You’re a healer, clean her wounds and tend to her as if she was your own—because if she dies both of yours will follow.”
Shortly after her wounds were tended to and the night’s evening star had arisen in the skies, one of the slavers desired a peaceful audience with her, so they led her to believe, they must have her mistaken for a fool.
Yes, she may be twelve years of age, but she had learned from the best. To keep her wits about her, someone she held close to her heart for many years, her patron and mentor… the Srielriya goddess of wisdom, Pallas. And it didn’t go well. Lord Evirek tortured her, until she begged for a respite.
Once he had his way with her, the Lord Medryk stepped in and finished the job. He beat her mercilessly, a vicious ire burned in his eyes.
Tending to the fields for three weeks until she defied them enough to set a snare loose, the boson’s lash was relinquished. Rather instead, the lords decided something far worse. A fight to the death within the coliseum, if she survived, eternal solitude awaited her. Of age in their eyes to fight, they’ve chosen her first opponent.
Keen stings yearned for a release, a moment’s pause to cling to. Alas, it is heartbreak, a piece at a time. She may not have known them long but it matters not, a person is a person. A person she called a friend. Young of age, just like her, a boy of fifteen with many scars upon his face, turns a thief in the night.
From the coliseum, Firena thought when she caught a glimpse of his face for the first time in a week.
New scars acquainted with the old, a misery revived. He too lost a number of friends, and if she succeeded he would become her first. Stepping towards her, a prolonged breath betrayed him. “Don’t be afraid, Firena. It’ll soon be over.” He told her softly, a tender heart revealed itself, did he have a fondness for her. “Come on, before they arrive.”
Swallowed fears and a faction of well-kept wits… Firena and the boy had one last exchange of reassurances before they were driven apart. Jostled towards the gates, a guard jerked his head towards the wall. Brushing off the dirt upon her, Firena saw a rack of weapons to choose from. Without a word, she reached for a light sword.
Blind by sunlight, the young maiden made her way inside, the iron gates close behind her. Composure regained, Firena heard a break of dawn, a beating drum of voices echoed profound in her ears. Almost burst them, in such an uproar. Abrupt cheers, colossus massifs in their wake, bushed by the tremors, the lone children stumbled further, a center mark waited there. “Forgive me.” Her friend said, his voice trembling.
Lunging forth, an ire stance bout him, almost as if he was a different person, the boy made his move. Maybe age gave him an edge, perhaps his strength, although she has one thing he fails to see.
Forgive me, Ryleigh. Ducking under his spear, her sword came forth, colliding with his leg. Tumble and roll, swiftly getting to her feet once more, Firena deflected a side thrust. Quickening his step, rapid fire raining down upon her, Ryleigh struck her to close for comfort. Step aside and all will reveal itself. In a thrice blurred aerial strike, Firena’s life hung in the balance.
One by one, her barricade held him at an impasse. He tried to salvage ground lost, only to lose more. Prepare, for what’s to come is an understatement.
Ryleigh’s fist collided. Knuckle to the side of her head, a trickle of blood swam around her cheeks. It was within that moment, everything changed. For better or worse, she could not tell, only time can give her that now.
Right when her close friend, one of the few she made over the course of her imprisonment, came near her, spear in hand, raised high above his head —- gusts of wind began to churn. Halts in his step, Ryleigh couldn’t move.
To no avail, he’s trapped with nowhere to go. Wincing in pain, Firena forced her legs to rise. She gazed into his fear widened eyes and wondered why he’s a statue, or at least acting like one.
“What’s going on here?” Ryleigh asked. His eyes dropped to his boots.
Trying to free himself once more, his failure sunk further. Arc, thrust, turn, arc… he failed once again. This time, gusts sifted through the air, sudden converse, a tempest greeted him.
Sent far from where he once stood, Ryleigh’s view of the world suddenly had a change of heart. Rested against the wall behind him, his feet hung above his head. Arisen to his feet was easy, that is until razor sharp pain shuttered his iron resolve. Shaken but arising to his feet, Ryleigh drove his spear towards Firena within an assault to her abdomen.
Driven her sword deep in wide thrust right, thrown right into a downward spinning arc. Firena ducked under his spear and ended the skirmish right there.
Agh, Ryleigh sunk to his knees, the light he held so dear slipped from his grasp. But he couldn’t speak a word, his strength began to wane and with it, he fell to the ground in a pool of his own blood. Firena’s sword pierced straight through his gut. Twelve years of age and she was forced to take her first life. Shakenly drawn to her knees, she threw the sword aside. Intertwining her bloodied fingers with his, Firena’s tears continued to fall. Forgive me. She repeated in her mind. How can someone be so cruel, so heartless, to force a man, woman or child to such a life.
Bastards, Firena said in her innermost thoughts. Someday soon, you will pay for this.
Resting her forehead against his, begging for his forgiveness and the same of his family who passed long before he arrived in Dreitheieus, streams of tears fell. Firena asked them. Whether or not, they would grant it, she asked any way.
Better to have asked than none at all. Remorse clouded her. A kindred air united them, a single thread lost in a sea of darkness. Lone beacons barely have survived and a single ray of light lingers on.
What kind of madness is this, to have innocence forsworn, that lingering hopes hang by a thread whilst their lives fall through the fissures. Hope is all we have, it must never be extinguished. Battered and scarred from the many fights she’s been forced into over the course of the last several months, Firena’s sword had claimed the lives of seven more.
Four were her friends, three were strangers to her eyes, but it mattered not, not to her, for every life there save those who put them there were sacred. There’s no reasoning with evil, for all shadows have one thing in common, one purpose really, power crazed lunacies.
Secluded from the others ever since her most recent defiant exploit, Firena’s ilk settled in. Onslaughts became a normal focus of the days gone by. Bosons were working tirelessly to reign over their serfs but to no avail. With every wave on the shores of Zegrelith, Dreitheieus was thrown further into chaos. For eight months she endured the torments of the shadows there, and in a small hope still open to her, Firena’s plan had already begun.
Freedom calls upon her, and in an hour of need, within her strength, there will be a refuge to save thee. Recalling what a mercenary lord told her before they fell in the coliseum upon her sword–Firena sharpened a self-forged dagger out of a goblet they had given her the night before.
Light of air paces the corridors, a handful of boots prattled in a near silence and once a flickering flame reached the darkness, she saw a friendly face. One she hoped to see. “Firena, the time has come, we must leave.” The friendly face said.
Her prison door lay strewn across an obsidian floor, five elves stormed through. Extending his hand to her, the elven sentry came to her defense. “We will see you to the coast, the bastard, Zerikrieas will not follow us.”
Traitor of his kin and of the light he once served so proudly, Zerikrieas one of the three lords of Dreitheieus falls utterly short of a knight in shining armor, he is nowhere close even then. Besides he’s the one who brought her here. For all of his cunning and all of his influence over the shadows, he fails beyond doubt.
“Atrevos, I’m not leaving here without the rest, no one deserves a life like this. You know this—help me save those that can be saved.” She whispered to the elven leader standing before her. Sighing in defeat, Atrevos turned to his men and gave the order. He eyed the gold dagger warily, before he decided to hand her a light sword, the very same one that she wielded in the coliseum.
“Take this—it’ll protect you better. Please, give me peace of mind.” Atrevos said.
Sheathing the dagger she made, keeping in close just in case, Firena took the sword and left her prison one last time. With Atrevos at her heels, the young maiden climbed every step she must, and reached cells tenfold. Each one filled to the brim with those enslaved.
“You’re free, run from this place and never return.” Atrevos shouted upon the crowds. At first no one moved and inch, but Atrevos’ voice carried over once more and without a fuss, the slaves did as they were told, and in a spurt of life ran for the one thing that has been denied them, their freedom.
And with the release of the slaves, a choice of free will granted back to them, Firena and the elves loyal to her friend Seryaina’s parents, helped her and her friends escape into the night. Rain, pitter-pattered down the mill rooftops, thin veils of clouds loomed overhead.
Frigid icy winds coursed through the skies, Mud greeted the refugees, and for a while all seemed well, war drums sounded in the deep. Trumpets blared in an effort to reconcile the fear within the people darting off into the night, but all it did was cause turmoil.
Dreitheis’ cavalries sounded the alarm, rounding up any they could find and in a horrid turn, ran them thru. One by one, they fell. No remorse known to their names, the dreaded knights ravaged the land. Push and shove, Atrevos and his men carried Firena and her friends to the docks.
“You must find your way from here, I’m afraid.” His hand cupped her face in a tender embrace, his eyes searching hers, trying to read her emotions through all of this and found nothing still, he replied. “Go now, my friend. You are free, do not wait any longer. Leave this place.”
He didn’t have to tell her or those beside her twice. Once he and his warriors darted across the paved roads surrounding the docks, they staved both advances of the enemy.
A hold of her friends’ sleeves, drawing them closer, Firena let out a tired breath, happens after running for so long. Must have been a league, her heart pounded so fast, she could barely get a word in between breaths … let alone try running in an open waterfront. Pressing her back up against the wall, her friends looked on with concern, she regained breath. “Come on and stay out of sight. Vreliya, Kevserin we don’t have time.” Firena said just above a whisper. Shoving both her friends forth, the dagger she made left her hand and Vreliya twirled it in her hand twice.
Follow a path to the right, a glimpse caught in a break of clouds, Kevserin got a hold of armor, one belonging to an enemy solider. Bringing his sword through the man’s throat, the sixteen year old boy silenced him. He laid the body down and in a moment’s pause another appeared. This time, Vreliya hit her target. In a heap, the second enemy fell back, a bloodied hand clutching his leg. Given an assist, Vreliya and Firena finished him.
A lone seafarer stood by a pile of cogs, loaded and prepped to bring aboard his ship. This was their chance. A chance for freedom, a chance of hope long been denied to them. Their concerns hushed, Firena sifting her hand through the air, she made her move.
Closing the distance in between them, the warrior tugged the seafarer’s cloak, a confidence brimmed anew.
“Excuse me, sir.” Firena said, her whisper kept nicely still, the worry in her has begun to fade. “We need your help.” Didn’t take long for the seafarer to hear their stories, and when Firena had finished. The kind-hearted man showed why his heart was made of gold.
“Gather your friends, lass.” The seafarer said. His fingers ran through his beard in earnest. “But if you don’t mind, where are you headed?” Beckoning both Vreliya and Kevserin forth, the coast cleared for an escape, Firena answered his request.
“Glinre, just get us to the northern shores of Glinre. Will that suffice?” Allowed aboard his ship first, Vreliya and Kevserin ran below deck. An answer in the clear, the seafarer waved his hand, inclined towards his ship.
“Needed to ask, milady, but you have nothing to fear, we’ll get you safely to Glinre.” Running upon the ship herself, Firena thanked him and held steadfast at the helm. The captain of the seafarers of Zregrelith, best of his trade, barked orders to his crew and within the next breeze. The ship sailed off the coast and into the open sea. Stave, a glance further still, beyond those of the borders that kept her prisoner for eight months, an eternity in her eyes, Firena saw him. Atrevos fought side to side, in close ranks with his battalion.
Zerikrieas making his move, the dread cavalries following close in pursuit, saw his most prized prisoners getting away further and further at sea. Shaken anger, an overflow of indignation, Zerikrieas charged. Atrevos broke rank and drove him asunder. His men fought to the death, a handful survived. Hard to tell which will achieve victory, Firena turns another round and right there, Atrevos bid her farewell.
Distance closed between them, maybe a few feet stood between them, the one who granted her safe passage aboard his ship, inclined his head. A slight bow, terms of respect washed over him.
“If we’re going to be wayfaring the seas together we might as well know each other’s names.” The man said, his hand extended towards her, he cleared his throat. “Fenrik, is my name, may I ask for yours?”
Uneasy of the man’s intentions, Firena grew wearier by the minute. Perhaps it was a product of her perils in Dreitheieus. Maybe it started when she was stolen from home, it mattered not, not to her… what did was getting back home and a life she scarcely remembered.
Firena… Firena Anlryn. That is my name.
Stay tuned for the next article on April 14th.