Chapter: Two.

Book One in A Series On Prejudice

Background: Later.

A/N Reviews are gooood. Thank you H for reviewing! If you review for mine most likely I will look at yours! This chapter takes place earlier in the day. Sicily and Aeon sleep rather late. xD I WOULD LIKE TO THANK my AMAZING Beta Locura! Although new to FP she is in no way new to writing. She is amazingly skilled and you will be able to see a marked improvement in my writing, thanks to her She is an immense help, and a very amazing person! Thanks BUNCHES LOCUZ! 3333

General Grit walked out of the small kitchen. He had upon his unshaven face a smug smile. The grumpy old man had always hated the girl Sicily. She didn't belong in this palace, she belonged in the gutters where his no good fellow general had found her. To General Grit she was a common beggar, hardly fit to be in the presence of kings and queens. The soldier marched across the cold, menacing halls and pushed all thoughts of the little guttersnipe out of his mind. No use dwelling on garbage. With another smug smile, he remembered what had made him so happy this morning. His king, the gracious Lord Kha, had laid out his plan to send the vampire Lord Drike to the pit where he had spewed forth from. Grit snorted, just the thought of filthy vampires made him feel queasy and angry. He would never forget what they did to his son. Never.

The general found himself standing before a large heavy wooden door. Outside stood two huge men, King Kha's personal bodyguards. They were some of the best, after all a king needed kingly protection. And with all the riffraff running around the castle these days the king could never be too careful. He coughed and waited for one of the large dark skinned bodyguards to open the door and announce his arrival to his king. They caught on quickly and soon the doors were thrown open wide and his name announced properly,

"General Grit to see his most high King Kha."

The great king flicked his fingers urging his trusted general into his court. General Grit stepped in the room and knew immediately something was bothering Kha. He dipped his head in a respectful bow, and waited for the king to spew forth his problems as he always did. The general didn't have to wait long.

"You know what irks me beyond all measure Julian," said the king his eyes closed with his large hand propping up his head, "that some people have the nerve to tease me with what is rightfully mine day after day, and I cannot do one thing."

General Grit grunted, sure he knew what ailed the young king. He spoke quickly stumbling over his words hastily in his anxiousness to reassure the young king.

"Sire, if I may?" he was granted permission to speak with a nod, "you must attack full on. Take what you want and ask no opinion of others. You are king! You are above the law, above the people! Why if you have no freedom, what does the common man have in the way of freedom? Why nothing!"

The general was interrupted by Kha in his fitful rage, as the young man stood to his feet his frame small but still muscular. He shouted out his face alight with joy,

"Why yes, of course! I don't see why I never thought of it that way before! You are quite right, my good general. It's time I used this kingly mantle I wear!"

Loud clapping and shouting was heard throughout the warm throne room as the king and general exclaimed over his own ingenuity. The general thought he had finally convinced the conniving ruler to take over the armies of Drike in one fell swoop. Kha, however, dashed the general's plan in one gleeful shout,

"The prize, that is Sicily, will soon be mine!"

The phrase, echoing throughout the room, sent shivers down the general's back as he beheld the fierce countenance of the young king.

"Eric Thyan, you young fool! Don'tcha know the cities no place for a lad like you?" was the cry heard on the dusty country road.

A young man of about twenty-six could be seen jumping off a carriage and the source of the yell was the old man with whom he had hitched a ride with. He landed hard on the ground a large cloud of pale red earth pooling around him. He turned toward the elderly farmer and smiled a disarming crooked grin.

"Don't worry, old timer. I'll make it just fine. Thanks so much for the ride. You take care of your wife and grandchildren now, you hear!"

And with that he waved, and made his way toward the main paved road. The clanking of the old wagon behind him told him the kindly farmer was taking a side road away from the capitol. Eric took a large breath. Before him he saw the sweeping grandeur of Hudan the center of the country known as Sopheterra. Eric remembered the words his grandma had whispered on her deathbed, and he could still hear them even now.

"The city, the city is where a young spy like you belongs. Go there, dear one. Small towns like this will eat you alive. I love you. And remember to always search for who you truly are."

Eric had only understood the frail old woman part of the time as she neared her end. That she had quickly grown old as she neared her golden years was a fact Eric had a hard time dealing with. It seemed she had been so full of life, and then after the accident that energy seemed to just wither away from her. He missed her terribly, and still thought of her often. One thing he knew for sure, however, he would follow her instructions to the letter, for in her day she had been a spy better than any in Sopheterra. So with his Granny's words thick in his mind he girded up his pants and started to stride confidently to the city. The road began to be harder to navigate the farther the lad walked on. People seemed to be multiplying and crowding in, the sounds were almost overwhelming. Most would expect Eric to be quite daunted over the business of the large city, him being a country boy after all, but he was quite enlivened and had never felt more at home somewhere than he was know. Finally Eric got his fill of the city, and strode to his destination with a purpose no one else in the large square seemed to have. More often than not, the tall lad found himself being run into and jabbed at, but he was as solid as a mountain and not many would think of stealing from the lad he was so very large. His arms and legs bulged with muscles and he stood almost head and shoulders taller than everyone in the market square.

Sooner than most could have accomplished he found himself in a less congested street and quite near to his destination. In a matter of only a few minutes since entering the city gates he found himself before the castle his grandmother had so vividly described to him. Hands on his hips, Eric surveyed the castle with an expression almost as grim as the building itself. Made by the first Haile Selassie, it showed both his arrogance and dark nature. The towers were very wide and all had the most intricate black wire detail around it. Fierce winged creatures with the faces of very ugly men and the body of different animals guarded the tower windows. It was said that the dead king had been able to bring them alive in the night. Those had been dark times, when Wizards became kings and dark beings preyed on the helpless humans.

Eric looked all about him, and then with one long, loud breath strode up to the castle and entered through the large black gate. Before him, he saw a square not much different from the one he had just left. It was much quieter though, and the people's expressions much more grim. Feeling conspicuous, Eric found himself reverting back to an old trick his Granny had taught him. If anyone had cared enough to look, they could have seen the transformation of a dapper young youth to tottering old man an astounding transformation, which not many could achieve. Eric had been taught well. Slowly he made his way toward the inner part of the castle, his steps slow and feeble. He looked as if he really were an elderly old man. Soon he found his shuffling feet walking on beautiful tiled floors, indicating he had made it safely inside. Quick as a wink he disappeared into shadows, as quiet as the darkness itself. He lingered for a while gathering as much information as possible. He needed to find the throne room. Eric knew that was where the king would be at this time.

Whispers made their way to his sharp ears as a courier told a noble how to get to the throne room. Faster than a wolf, Eric darted to the throne room. The directions were clear and accurate and sooner than the young spy had thought possible he was standing in the shadows before two massive black wooden doors. He could hear what sounded like a party inside. Now he only had one last obstacle to overcome, getting past the two enormous guards who stood before the great doors. Immediately his quick mind went to work as he made up and discarded plans, after a few moments he had formulated a risky but bold approach that he thought the king would appreciate. A quick change into clothes he had stored in his knapsack he transformer once more from tottering old man to dashing young noble. He stuffed his bag behind a bench in the hall and then strode out from the shadows. The guards eyed this young man warily, but bowed to him respectfully. Eric nodded at them regally and the flicked his fingers in a signal to get the door. One of the guards spoke up respectfully,

"Sir, could we please have your name so we may announce you to his highness properly?"

Eric made a great show of being offended and then spoke in a nasally voice,

"Good guard, I have no need of introductions. The King and I are very close personal friends." He sniffed to show how utterly humiliated he was that this guard did not know his name, or know that he did not need to be introduced. Stumbling backwards the guard went to open the gates for this imperious noble, hoping that this little instance would not cost him his job. The other guard eyed this supposed noble suspiciously, but was not quick enough to stop the large youth for Eric had alread quickly stepped into the room his velvet coat trailing behind him. Before anyone could protest to this intruder however he slammed the doors behind him. The young lad now turned upon the amused king and rather annoyed general. He bowed to them grandly and then announced himself,

"I am Eric Thyan, grandson to Heraldia Thyan, and I come to be a spy for his majesty's court."

King Kha smiled upon this unexpected surprise and then looked to the picture of his father's and grandfather's portraits and mouthed the words,

"Thank you."

Grunts and the sounds of swords ringing against each other bounced off the basements walls. Two figures clad in thin protective gear battled with sharp shiny swords. The room was made of stone, and on the ground were blue pads which were for the warrior's protection. Some very loud music could be heard from a strange silver device that whirred slightly and was lit by many blue lights. The figures in the middle of this strange scene seemed to be dancing to this wild music, their swords and bodies clashing in a dangerous and beautiful display of skill. The wild song came to an abrupt close and as quickly as the song ended so did the fight. The two figures took off their webbed headgear and stood there panting hard. One person was very dark skinned with a friendly face. The other was a young girl with a willowy frame, and wild curly hair that is white as snow. Her face normally expressionless and pale glowed with happiness and from the vigor of the exercise. They walked off of the strange blue mats and out the door laughing as they went over the details of the fight and how the other could improve. The frivolity soon ended though and Aeon, the dark skinned man, turned to his young ward and spoke,

"Sicily, I think it's time you told me what General Grit said to you."

He said sternly, but not unkindly. Sicily looked down at the ground and scraped one booted foot across the hard tile. She began to speak quietly and slowly to her mentor.

"Well, Aeon, he came in and told me that you and I were invited to a lunch and meeting with King Kha. I received distinct emotions of glee and disgust from the man, master, and frankly I do not think this meeting will be of much benefit for me."

Aeon nodded and rested a large hand on Sicily's thin shoulder reassuringly. She looked up from the floor she had been so intently studying and met his soft dark blue eyes with her own blood red ones.

"I promise I will never leave your side."

And the two very different people, continued on each to their own room to prepare for the ordeal ahead.