Chapter One: Avoided Questions
I remember days… Days where babies were born into peace and happiness. Where people were strong and healthy and the crops mirrored their glee. When houses stood proud and strong with families at home to care for them.
But now, now, babies were born into death and hate. Where people were bitter and hungry and the crops withered as if to shrink away from the cruelty and maltreatment. Now the houses are crumbling the wood decayed, the thatch now rotted with a disgusting musty smell. All because the men are away, not able to take care of their own house and family. Away at war.
I was never really told why… Why my father and future husband had started this war. My father had told me that it was destiny that they started and finished this war victorious. The Cicillian's did not deserve the rich land that they were destroying year by year. He told me this when I was only a small girl full of questions most them starting with why. Which always my father or fiancé always had an easy answer. As if rehearsed between the two of them.
"Why do we decide who gets that land?"
Because someone has to Apsid.
"How are they evil?"
They worship in evil ways and have evil thoughts concerning women and children.
"Well at least they worship, doesn't that count for something Pappa?"
You are young and sweet do not worry yourself about such things sweet one. Now go play and forget about such things Apsid.
So here I stood, still wondering why. But now since I was a young woman, future queen of my fiancé's house. I had no time to wonder, no time to ask questions anymore. For that was all my father would say now when I asked.
I sighed softly still leaning against the windowsill. I looked away and stared at the contents of my room. I gently smoothed the quilt that was folded at the foot of my bed. Memories of making this with my mother to take my mind off my father and brother when they were away exposed to the perils of fighting.
A smile moved my lips slightly and I knew it was somewhat bitter. I wondered now what to do. I had just received news that my father and Gabriel, my brother, would soon be home. This usually meant that tonight we would celebrate another grand victory with a great feast.
I sat down and started to comb out my long hair that reminded me so much of a dark, dark red wine. I looked around sighing softly about to go look for my brother. I quickly braided my hair tightly and fastened it securely so it would be out of my way.
I looked down and made sure my dress was suitable. I straightened the dark velvety brown fabric over my small frame admiring the little lilac blue flowers and birds on the sleeves. Lapsing back into memories again and starting to wonder why I was thinking of my childhood so much these past few days.
I jumped startled at the abrupt knock on the door.
"Come in," I said softly barely recognizing my own distant voice. My eyes focused on the door thinking it was just simply a maid or someone of equal importance coming. My smile brightened, eyes alighting in glee as my brother Gabriel poked his head in.
I came to him and we embraced, hugging tightly. "I'm so happy that you're back," I said happily into his ear and I stepped back looking into his eyes. So glad that he was safe and still in one healthy piece.
"Me too, I missed this place. Come on sis, I'm a good little warrior I know how to keep myself in one piece." He said with a smile. He was obviously strong with a solid build, high cheek bones, like out mothers. With a nose that was straight and fit his face well. He had silver eyes, more metallic than my own.
"Come on let's walk around,another feast will start soon." He said softly as if he was tired of all the feasts and banquets with all the ceremonious regulations.
I nodded and slipped my soft leather boots on and began to walk with him. "So how was it?" I finally asked softly knowing he despised talking to me about the war. But it was everywhere and I wanted to know.
He sighed softly and ran his fingers though his dark brown hair. "We were victorious, many died but we, we won." He said softly and could not keep the disgust out of his voice.
"Do not lose hope," I told him quietly. "This war can't last forever you know Gabriel," I said trying to comfort him.
"This war grows darker and darker. The men forget that our enemy are people too." He said looking straight-forward as we walked.
"What do you mean?" I said confused and more then just a little worried.
Gabriel stopped and turned to me; his eyes filled with slight regret and hate. "You are too kind and good to worry about this war." He said softly.
I shook my head, "I want to know, what did you mean by that?" I asked starting to get frustrated.
He looked at me and sighed tiredly. "I will not be the one to tell you, you will find out soon enough tonight. Your fiancé is here tonight. I thought you might like to talk a little before we met up with him." He said with slight bitterness when he mentioned my fiancé.
Something stirred in my heart at the mention of him and I felt a little happier. "He is here, but why? He said that he would not come against until the spring." I said softly slightly confused. Wondering why he was here, and why my brother did not sound too pleased about it.
I was glad though that Samson was here. I had wanted to talk to him for so long. Our letters were nice but yet, talking with him, seeing the glimmer of happiness in his hazel green eyes that just refused to be tamed always fleeing from one color to the next.
Gabriel shrugged, "He wanted to see you and be part of the 'celebration', I guess." He said trying to keep his tone tight and controlled. But I could hear the slight sarcasm in his voice.
I frowned slightly and Gabriel patted me on my back and messed with the my hair a little. I laughed and muttered a 'quit it,' pushing his hand away from my hair.
"I'm going to go check on a few things. Your fiancé should be heading towards your room in a little bit." He said softly. I nodded and watched him walk away after kissing me on the cheek.
I sighed softly and continued to walk down the hallway turning onto another one that was a little lighter having a few more windows to aide it. I looked out one of the windows taking in the beauty of the land, the setting sun accentuating the rolling dark green hills.
The village our castle looked over was beautiful from a distance. It looked calm and peaceful like the people were not suffering. I knew different though that the village was barely surviving, the houses worn down riddled with holes in the thatch.
I started to fall into my dark thoughts. Thinking of what my brothercould have possilbymeant by his words. I stood there silently contemplating what it could be, sick and tired of being kept in the dark.
I heard quiet footsteps ring through the empty halls and shook my head clear to turn and see Samson. I smiled looking up into his familiar eyes and then embraced him.
"It's been so long," I whispered softly. He embraced meslightly, still I knew it would take him a while to warm up. Something had happened to him during the span of the war, he used to be warm and usually had a carefree smile on his lips. Now there were only faint smiles with halfhearted hugs, "I know," were the next words that came out of his mouth.
I looked up at him he was the same that he always was and probably always would be. His golden hair was closely cropped to his face a shadelighter than his hazel eyes.
We started to walk together going everywhere as we talked. In his presence I was careful to not bring up the war. I knew how much he hated talking about the war and what was going on. Plus he was so stubborn, that I could not get a word out of him about it anyway.
Somehow after what seemed like hours of us talking and catching up on old times. We stopped at my door and I kissed him softly on the cheek before going in. He took a step back and smiled softly, "I'll see you at dinner," he said quietly. I nodded in agreement and we parted and I went inside my room.
I was helped by several of my maids to get ready for the celebration. I was dressed in my favorite dress; one of several I had helped cut and sew. My stomach clenched with slight dread wondering which men this time would be missing from the tables this time. I straightened myself up a little as they finished braiding.
My dress was a nice silvery grey color with a matching ribbon around my waist. I love it because it highlighted my eyes beautifully. I slipped on my favorite shoes and thanked my maids before walking out of my room to meet my sisters.
When they saw me they giggled happily and twisted out of their caretakers grasp and both gave me a bone breaking hug.
"Eah…love you too Ezra," I gasped out and she only erupted into more giggles. I yelped again asAlys joined her sister in the hug.
They were exactly alike, mirror images of one another. They were so cute, I loved my sisters. I loved all of my family deeply and would miss them terribly when I went away with Samson to live with him after our marriage. But at least I loved him that's what made everything okay. I loved him and I would always have letters and summer visits to look forward too from my family.
We walked to the banquet together, it being custom. My brother and my fiancé already in the dining hall. Neither looked too happy at the moment but the grim expressions on their faces lightened up slightly as we entered.
The dining hall was a large warm area. The dreary gray stone walls covered with multicolored tapestries of all different kinds of scenes of out history and folklore, in between each tapestry was a lantern that gave the freat hall lighting.
There were two fireplaces one at the entrance of the dining hall and one at the exit. Always having warm fires with plenty of wood in the fire during the cold winter days.
We entered and the chatter died down as we were announced. We had many guests tonight several important men from all around the country. All of them my father and Samson's allies. Swearing their allegiance long before I ever knew of such matters.
I sat across from my fiancé my head down as my father began to speak I listened as he talked about our enemies hatefully and about their witchcraft and trickery and shuddered hating them more and more. He told a few grim stories but put a somehow lighthearted twist on it to not make it so dark. I never really understood how he could do that but he did with ease.
He turned the subject abruptly to our easy victory and new wealth we had taken and brought home. He said that it would be a gift for all that could be shared equally among the people. He said that it would help us greatly with our problems and that we could begin to rebuild the town and repair it and build a stronger wall with what he had brought home with him. Everyone seemed interested and even I was looking up to him wondering what he was talking about.
He went on not revealing what he was talking about building suspense now it seemed. He talked about a great discovery and capture and I felt my face pale horribly. No…I looked over to my brother but he would not look at me. He would look at noone his eyes on his empty plate.
I stared in horror as my father made a sweeping motion with his hands. Two small children were led in with what obviously was there mother. There were several others he had informed thirty or forty to be exact. All strong and healthy but these three were the greatest catch of all.
The children were so small, having red, tearstained cheeks. Shivering from cold and being so scared.
My heart dropped as the young one began to sob. I looked to their mother seeing her proud face strain and contort into anger and she struggled to get to her children.
My fathers voice boomed in my ears and the food did not smell so good to me now. I felt so sick now inside and just wanted to curl up. So ashamed of my father and his acts and my brother for not stopping such atrocities as taking slaves. We had never taken slaves before, we never needed too. Always having enough plenty of people to work on what was needed for the good of the castle and village.
My father said something and I had not heard him that well. But the woman looked shocked and a her anger seemed to grow. "That's not true," she yelled.
Several bursts of laughter from a few men and giggles from a few ladies sounded into the hall and chatter began. I looked down disgusted this was a far cry from a humorous situation.
The sick speech my father continued on for what seemed like forever. Our men had slaughtered there's and took the large fort and had found the royal family within. But sadly the devil and leader of this family, Silas, had not been present in this fort he had been somewhere else.
The feast began and I could not eat a single bite. A few tried to talk to me even my own fiancé but I would have none of it. Just shaking my head and telling them to talk with someone else that could actually carry on a good conversation.
I sat there for what seemed like forever until I could not stand it any longer. I dismissed myself quietly not waiting for permission. I was a woman now and did not have to ask my father if I could leave the table. I wandered out in the hall going outside for a while and taking a walk before going up and into my room.
I remember vaguely ordering my maids out and just slipping off my shoes and falling asleep. I could not really remember if I had cried or not but I think I did. Those poor people…
My home, the house of my father, fathers, father had been the home for our people for so long. The walls were made of strong stone even if its maintenance like so many things were starting to be neglected.
It was always peaceful here, war had never touched these walls and they would never so assured my father.
He was wrong though, it would and it did.
I awoke to screams and heat and choking blinding smoke. I cried out as I fell to the ground hitting the floor hard. My lungs burning I was in a daze from the smoke and could see.
I slowly started to crawl to my door my eyes burning. I heard hellish screams, that's all I could remember were the screams. I heard scream after scream one right after another that night and they would forever be etched into my mind.
I panicked and bumped my head into something. Where was my door? I can't find my door, oh god, I'm going to die. I can't find my door.
I felt rough hands grab my waist and jerk me. I let out a scream starting to kick and cough even harder.
I felt so sick and he kept on jerking me and then I felt something I had never felt before. It was warm and something wiped off on me from it. I gasped and whimpered going completely still as he continued to tell me to get up.
I tried to do as he said but it was too hard and I could not focus.
"Sit up…now you spoiled brat." he yelled at me and gave me a kick in the ribs.
I coughed and wheezed even more it burning and stinging to breathe. Everything was so dark. He continued to try and grab me. Then I heard a sick gurgling sound and a familiar voice. But I could not decipher who it was through my daze.
I was then picked up and I could tell something was not right. But my mind was so hazy and everything was burning.
"Wait…" I croaked my voice bone dry from inhaling smoke for so long.
"Family…my family wait we can't leave them." I said starting to struggle in his arms. He was breathing hard his heart beating fast I could tell my bottom pressed so close to his chest.
"We can't…I'm …I'm so sorry Apsid." he said breathlessly and then he started running down another corridor.
My thoughts started to slur and I blacked out for a little while. All the smoke I had inhaled finally catching up with me making me weak and so sick. I felt like I might throw- up but just didn't have the energy for it. My head pounding as I was hauled off through the corridors of my beloved home that were now starting to burn to ash. I don't remember how many times Samson had to put me down to fight off the enemy, me still in my hazy daze passing in and out of consciousness.
A/N: Hey, hey, hey...New story...It's actually not that new, I've had it for a while just haven't posted any of it. Well enjoy. I have a few more chapters already typed out just waiting for reviews. Hehe...
See y'all later,
Btw, it's good to be back. ;)