Hello kind internet readers! Greetings from a small nation in Europe come to you all. Has October been good to you? Ours has been quite turbulent. It has been either terribly cold or warm and sunny. I suspect the weather has bipolar disorder. I’ll keep my eye on it and advise it a therapist if so.
Anyways, I thought I should share another ‘sneak peek’ with you! This story has not a title yet. Sorry for that. But it has a prologue that I’m quite proud of and I hope that you will like to read it as well. Here it is!
With sword in hand she stood. The look in her eyes gave emphasis to her stance of defense. She would protect her kingdom, her body and everything her life contained. It was not for the wellness of this life of hers, for that she had lost many times before. There was no freedom in it and she was prepared to give that up, should she be able to protect the people of her kingdom in doing so.
Upon her head rested a crown with five gemstones imbedded within its gold; a diamond, an amethyst, a ruby, an emerald and a sapphire. Her blue eyes sparkled like the summer sky, lit by the brightest sun to ever burn within the universe. Gleam like the sunbeams her hair did. Her skin was light yet fair. But none of such fairness was to be found upon her face. She displayed not a form of it. Her eyes contained anger and hate towards the person before her. “Scum!” she hissed.
The man before her laughed coldly at her single word. “I?” he questioned, tapping the flat side of his blade against his shield. “Not I, Queen.” he denied. His laugh echoed once more throughout the dimly lit room. Torches spread their bright beams across the room; painting the floor and walls in gold. Their dance was one unknown to mankind.
She released a hiss once more while closing her eyes to slits as thin as blades that glared at the man before her. “If one’s body is tainted, one’s heart can still be fair. The truth within the heart matters.” she answered in a bitter tone. “Lord Metrias, I had thought of you as a loyal knight of the Five Gems. What sort of man betrays his country in such a way? Have you no pride?” The words rang from wall to wall and held immense power. As she spoke her final questions, she slightly raised the slim blade she held.
“Pride? Why must one have pride if one knows better of rule than those in order?” he replied in a seemingly fascinated way. It was obviously false. In contradiction to her, he lowered his blade several inches. “Your tainted body can create nothing but evil and despair within our kingdom. The king might not know, but he soon will, Queen Ailathí.” He, Lord Metrias, rolled her name upon his tongue with the taste of hate upon his lips.
“Speak not my name!” Ailathí bellowed. Her voice echoed; followed by the ringing of her heels upon the gleaming floor as she launched herself towards Metrias. The blade she held reflected every torch’s flame as she sped towards her opponent. With seeming ease, she swung her blade forward towards his throat.
Metrias frowned and lifted his blade to block her movements. His blade was long and slender and within its pommel rested a diamond; the sign of his status as the highest member of the Five Gems; an order of five knights that lived for the protection of the kingdom.
In an attempt to knock her off her feet, Lord Metrias shoved his shield forward with incredible force towards her shoulder. Yet Ailathí’s speed saved her as she jumped back; moving away only inches from the shield before tilting her wrist and knocking the shield up with the pommel of her sword. It allowed her an opening and she took full use of it. In an attempt to damage his chest, Ailathí delivered several consecutive blows towards his ribs before pouncing back for safety.
“You might be fast, Queen, but you can not damage me. I earned the Diamond Gem title for a reason.” Metrias answered while grinning widely.
His attempts to mock her and draw her near were in vain. “Every foe, Lord Metrias, has a weakness.” Ailathí knew while studying his body to detect an opening or weak spot. So far, the only advantages she identified would be her speed and stealth. Yet if he was able to catch her, his strength would easily crush her. He was skilled in the art of swordplay, for he had fought in many wars of the kingdom at the south border during battles against their foreign enemies.
“All but the strongest of the kingdom, Queen Ailathí.” Lord Metrias answered, while lifting his blade to challenge her into combat. “And soon, this kingdom will be mine. King Lial will vanish from the throne and you with him, Queen. Unless you decide to serve at my side, that is.” he spoke.
“I’d never. I’m loyal to only my king and beloved husband Lial. None but him can desire command of me and achieve it.” Ailathí answered in a dimmed and slowed tone. Though the words were hoarsely spoken, they contained nothing but truth. She gripped the handle of her blade tighter while she raised it up slowly before her body. Her gaze lay upon Metrias and the cross guard of her blade. “I would rather die.” she concluded, before pushing her body forward with a mighty leap and lunging towards her opponent’s heart with her blade.
Aware that she was tempting him to knock her sword up with his blade so she was able to cut his throat in the process, Metrias answered her blow by blocking with his shield and slicing his sword in a downward direction to attempt to cut the woman before him.
After letting herself fall to the ground, Ailathí made herself roll to the side while sending her blade upwards in a flowing motion. Her slim, razor-sharp blade cut through his sleeves and cut a portion of his skin; drawing blood. Though Ailathí had hoped to cut his muscles so he had difficulty lifting his shield against her, she was satisfied with the result nevertheless. The moment that her blade passed through his defense caught Metrias off guard so Ailathí was able to move back to a safe distance.
Lord Metrias gritted his teeth angrily while glaring at her. “The rumors are true then, Queen Ailathí. You are more a warrior than a girl.” he growled to her. “They say you are skilled with a blade and I see it. Well then, I must not go easy on you, I see.” he decided.
Ailathí growled and rolled her eyes slowly. “Rumors are called so for a reason.” she answered. “My name is only a word and power only a tool and a sword is a way.” she determined.
Yet in answer to this, Lord Metrias let out an echoing laugh that bounced off of every wall within the large hall they occupied. “Power, a tool? A sword, only a way? You have it the other way around, Queen. I had thought better of a wise, old woman such as yourself; considering what you are.” he answered then. “No, the sword is the tool that achieves the way of power. And power is what I desire. Power over this kingdom and possibly over the eternal witch. Does that not sound appealing, Ailathí?” A grin possessed his face as he mocked her.
His words struck a sensitive spot and Ailathí was caught in anger for a moment. Yet she quickly managed to clear her mind. “It does not; one bit. You would not use your power the correct way. You’d only desire wealth, immortality and fame. Yet it would all be false; deceit. Nothing you receive is permanent. We all lose it once we die.” she claimed in a light tone.
“Not everyone does.” Lord Metrias answered. “Witches do not die, correct? They can be beheaded, have their heart pierced or hold an arrow through their skulls. Yet they can heal; from anything. Nothing can kill them. Does that make every materialistic thing permanent? Eternity is what I desire.” he bellowed.
While she swung her sword through the air in a display of her disgust towards his words, Ailathí yelled, “Eternity is wrong! Living forever is a nightmare. Healing from everything can let one die and then live again; repeatedly. It is horrifying!”
“I doubt it.” Lord Metrias grinned. He too swung his sword to challenge her. “Why do you not prove it to me then?” he questioned. Before he received an answer, he jumped towards her and let his sword move down; slicing through the air effortlessly.
Ailathí ducked under his blade and stabbed at his gut with the tip of her weapon. She struck him, but soon found the side of his shield knocking her away from him. She found the impact sending her sideways for several yards. As she scrambled back to her feet, she found Metrias rushing after her in an attempt to take advantage of the moment. Yet as he neared her, Ailathí swung her sword upwards and sliced through the mail of his hauberk and into his gut and cutting towards the edge of his ribcage. Blood dripped down towards Ailathí while she rolled away and regained her footing.
Lord Metrias grew more furious with her. For a moment he hid behind his shield to examine the wounds she had inflicted. Ailathí moved around him like a wolf; ready to pounce should she find it convenient. Yet he left no opening for her and thus she remained defensive till he would lower his shield. Every muscle within her tensed and all her senses were on alert.
“No lady would desire to be so deadly.” Lord Metrias claimed while he lowered his shield to glare at her.
“I am no lady.” Ailathí simply answered; predicting his next words to be directed at her powers. These were the powers that no one ever wished for. Never had she asked for them, yet she had received them. It was life’s cruel way of toying with the living. It laughed as some of them unwillingly had to commit to what life gave them. The one thing she wanted was out of reach due to these powers.
Slightly she shook her head to rid of the painful feelings that she had harbored for many years. Instead she found Metrias approaching her; coming dangerously close. Thus she jumped back swiftly.
“That I know, Queen, that I know. You are female but no lady. You are a queen but not a mistress of the humans. You never could be. Fate dislikes whom you are, obviously. It is such a shame.” Lord Metrias answered slowly while he watched her jump back from his looming form; exactly as he planned.
Ailathí raised her free hand to tap the crown that rested upon her head. “I wear this for that reason though.” she objected; unwilling to let him judge her so darkly.
Lord Metrias heaved his blade slightly; allowing an opening. “Yet…” he wished to proceed, but Ailathí launched towards him and rammed the flat side of her blade against his side; breaking one of his ribs through the impact of her sword upon his mail. It was more than he had anticipated, and so he let his blade rush down. Ailathí dashed sideways and so the sword only cut a portion of her light blonde hair.
Following this attack, Ailathí danced forward for a moment while slashing at the wrist of his sword hand before retreating again. It had become a game for her. He was willing to allow openings for her because he underestimated her. The strength within his muscles was impeccable due to many years of experience.
Because her blow had slightly altered the course of his blade, Lord Metrias was unable to answer her attack. So he decided to study her for several moments. He knew she was light and could easily be knocked over. Yet she was quick; too quick for him to equal. Thus he decided to use another technique to achieve victory. As he decided upon his plan of action, he glared at her. “The king will discover, Queen, what you truly are. And that is not a queen of humans. The king will know and he will laugh because of it.”
Ailathí grunted; unable to believe him. “Lial will never laugh at such despair.” she denied.
“Not Lial, Queen.” Lord Metrias replied while slowly shaking his head. “His crown and throne alike will be mine when the kingdom comes to believe that the two of you are dead. I will give them proof of it.” he promised with a slight nod.
His confidence scared Ailathí and she began to fear for Lial’s life. She wondered if Metrias had already been able to conquer her husband and was now planning to do the same to her. This moment of doubt changed the tide of the battle. Lord Metrias lunged forward and carried his blade to her throat. He cut through her flesh; letting blood spill out.
The agonizing pain of nearly losing her head rushed through Ailathí’s body and made her collapse to the floor. Blood spilled from her throat to the floor; painting it in crimson. It flowed down to her clothes and stained them in an equal color. A pool of blood collected around her on the floor while she sat on her knees; coughing heavily. Her crown had fallen and now lay before her; unattended to. Everything within Ailathí was hurting. Every nerve tingled with horrifying sensations. Her vision was a blur of what was near her. Her head spun of dizziness. Then she felt rough hands upon her shoulders and a knee beneath her chin. Both the hands upon her shoulders and the knee beneath her head, pushed her back; making her collapse onto her back.
Then she gazed into his eyes; Lord Metrias’ furious, angry stare. It caused her whole body to revolt against her mind and her free will aimed to remain. She wished to scream, but no sound came due to her severed vocal cords. Her body combined the physical pain and the pain of his stare plummeting into hers. Then his words came; the words she had feared he knew. Those words left not a single chance for her. They echoed in her mind as he spoke; before she fainted due to exhaustion and the loss of blood. His words kept ringing for several seconds more before she fully lost connection to the various locations within her mind.