Friday, November 29, 2013

Friends and Enemies // Chapter Fourteen // A Change of Heart

 "Tajoreth," a sharp voice snapped. "What are you doing?" Tajoreth looked up with surprise at his eldest sister, Zemerah, who glared down at him with piercing eyes.
   She narrowed her eyes. "Reading that," she declared, pointing at the book in his hands with her ghostly pale hand.
   Tajoreth waved the book at her. "It is a pamphlet, Zem. And you're not Mother, you cannot boss me around."
   Zemerah's taunting laugh echoed through his room. "Little brother," she sighed, placing an icy hand on his. "Mother is irrelevant to this situation. You are royal. And that means no reading Rebel propaganda," she purred, plucking the slim book from his hands with surprising strength. Tucking it under her arm, she glided away.
Tajoreth rubbed his forehead. His elder sister was the one most involved with the Shadow lord. His brother was too, but Zemerah was definitely the darkest of heart among his siblings.
   Tajoreth glared out the window. What was his position on these so called, "rebels" anyway? They hadn't hurt anyone. He had noticed their extreme caution about not hurting any people. Goblins, orcs, etc, made no difference if they were killed, but no people had perished at the hands of the rebels.
   He ran a finger down the black feather of the crow that had been tethered to the stand next to his chair. The crow cawed at him angrily. Tajoreth bit his lip. Closing his eyes hesitantly, he tried to pray. All right, Author. I need to know who to trust. My father and siblings trust the Shadow, who seem to have good answers. But what about the Resistance? They do not kill recklessly. They have justice in their hearts. He opened his eyes. This wasn't the first time he had tried praying to an Author that he wasn't sure existed. He had discussed him with his cousin, but he still wasn't sure. Perhaps Mother has some answers.

  Willow glared down at the courtyard far beneath her. How was she, Teclemith, and Aliatha to escape? There was no way. Climbing down the tower hand over hand was a possibility, but for someone who was afraid of heights {and, not to mention, had a sprained foot!} it didn't sound so good.
   Drumming her fingernails against the cold stone, she closed her eyes tightly, and tried to think of what advice certain people might give her. Unfortunately, the only mental-friend-advice that she got was "All will be well", which was one of Estburn's favorite phrases. But "All will be well" doesn't help you much with escape-plan sessions.
   Her eyelids grew heavy. Maybe I should get some sleep, she mused as she folded her arms on the windowsill and laid her head down.
   "Mother?" Tajoreth rapped on his mother's door lightly.
   "Come in, Love," she invited, her voice sounding hollow and empty.
   Pushing the door open, Tajoreth stepped into his mother's apartment. She was reclining on a couch, looking much older than her years. His eyes filled with tears at seeing her so sad looking.
   "Mother, how are you faring?" he inquired, taking her hand and stroking it.
   "My heart is pained within me. Your father will not allow me to leave my apartments, nor allow many visitors," her gaze dropped from his eyes to the cold stone floor.
   "Mother, I-I do not know what to do. Cousin Emmeth fights for what he believes is justice, but I do not believe anyone in our family sincerely wants what is best for our people. Father keeps bringing up some kind of ring, and he says that it will hep him gain control of Tashra. I just..." Tajoreth squeezed her hand as he struggled to go on.
   "I know, Love. You want to justify your father's actions. But I can tell you now that you cannot. He is beyond the point of no return, and must be stopped. I know that you are the most just-hearted of my children, so this I plead with you. Save the girl in the turret. She is the new hope of this planet. She must not be used by the enemy to find that ring. If it is found, I shudder to know what will be done with it. Please, Love, save her. She must escape if there is to be any hope for justice," his mother squeezed his hand as she finished her impassioned speech.
   Tajoreth allowed her words to sink in and pierce him to the bone. "I will Mother. I know which side I am on now. The side of justice. And love," he grinned down at her. "I will help the Resistance. But I will rescue you as well. You cannot stay here alone."
   As he turned and raced out the door, he heard her say softly, "I am never alone."

   Tajoreth pounded up the grey stone steps to the turret room. His thoughts swirled. What should he say?
   He thrust a rusty key into the lock and turned it quickly. The lock protested, but gave way and he stood in the doorway, looking into a sunlight filled round room with a dark-haired girl sitting at the window.
   Willow jerked herself out of her almost-sleep and stared at the door. A young man stood there, panting and his eyes flashing. She reached for the only weapon there was in the room {a pencil} but he shook his head.
   "I wish to know more about the Rebellion. I am Tajoreth, son of Tashmath," he informed her, as if that would impress her. She peered up at him through her dark bangs. "I do not believe that Tash is true and right. He is enslaving my people. Please, I know you can help. My mother is a Codebearer, but I am not. But you can still trust me."
   She nodded, her dark eyes piercing into his, assessing, wondering, weighing the risk. Can I trust him? she silently prayed.
   Then slowly, she nodded. "Alright. How do you want to help us?"
   Tajoreth lifted something out of his tunic pocket. Turning the handle towards her, he offered it. Eyes still locked with his, Willow reached out and grasping the handle of the dagger, unsheathed it. It glinted in the warm afternoon sunlight. The elvish words inscribed on the blade lit up and glowed. A light from the shadows shall spring. The phrase echoed in Willow's mind. Maybe Tajoreth was that light in these shadows. Maybe indeed.
   Aliatha trotted hurriedly down the steps towards the armory. But she wasn't alone this time. Prince Tajoreth, son of the brother of the king, was right beside her. She had been hesitant when Willow had agreed to trust him, but her trust for her new friend was so deep, that she would have followed her to Lorthin, if that's what it took.
   "Here," Tajoreth motioned her into the armory. Gently lifting the lid of a trunk in a far corner, he lifted a dagger out. "Aliatha, would you please give this to Teclemith?" he asked, handing her the sheathed weapon.
   Aliatha nodded. "For what?" she inquired, tucking it gingerly into her apron pocket.
   Tajoreth glanced around, then leaned in. "For the escape."
She blinked with confusion. "How are we going to help them escape?" she whispered, taking care to keep her voice down.

   He laid a hand on hers and shook his head. "Not here. We will discuss it later. But we must do it soon. Tash is supposed to return from Lorthin within the week, and if Willow falls into his clutches, rescuing her will be near impossible."
   Aliatha nodded. "I understand. But how will you help with the escape? Will you go with us to Essgarothe?"
   Tajoreth shook his head. "No. I will stay here. I can serve the Resistance here better than there."
   "What if you are discovered to have helped with the escape?" she questioned.
   He shook his head. "Maybe the Author will protect me."

    Yay! I finally got that done. Now comes the fun part. The escape!
   Unfortunately, I don't have time to do more. My family is going to go find a Christmas tree! Yeps!
   The reason, also, that I'm up so early is that my Mom accidentally triggered our security system's alarm a seven. Yeah, fun. I pretty much knew if was her, though. I didn't think it was a burglar.
   Anyhow, here's what I'm thankful for.

   My awesome family: D, my soundboard for ideas and the Stayin' Alive to my extreme.
   Mom, for her occasional spelling corrections and lurve.
   Dad, for his ideas and positive reviews.
   Ammelia, for her suggestions.
   Catherine, for her super positive reviews on my book.
   Everyone else for reading!

   Be a friend, not an enemy,


   Postscript // I added Tajoreth's mother and Zemerah to the characters post that you can find on the characters page.


  1. I'm .loving it! All the bad guys turn good, I have noticed. Especially the ones that are played by actors I know! :) Keep up the work! I CAN"T WAIT UNTIL NEXT FRIDAY!!! I hope you have a nice start of Advent Sunday. :)

    1. Thank you! Interesting, because not all of the bad guys turn good :) Tajoreth mostly just does because he's a redemption character :)

    2. Ah....indeed. This is getting better every Friday! I can't wait to read more! And of course Tajoreth had to turn good because he is played by Prince Caspian. :)

    3. Please look at my blog :)

    4. Well, Tajoreth was one of my favourites from the start, so I feel rather pleased in the kind hints the author has been dropping to make me feel secure in my good judge of character ;)

  2. *sharp gasp* TAJORETH! *heart pounds at the chapter title/picture* WILLOW, DID YOU?? *calms giddy self enough to savour every bit of the chapter* YOU DID! *wishes willow was around to give an hug of approval to* THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU. bless this post. <3 bless redeemable characters. bless friends and enemies. and God bless us, every one!

    xx les

    1. Wow, Les! I didn't mean to cause such immense emotional turmoil! Anyway, thanks!

  3. Tajoreth was my favourite from the start. (except for Emmeth, of course;) I knew he would be good!!!:D

  4. Just finished reading this. (I was gone Friday) I really Love your story Willow and I can't wait for the next chapter.

    1. Thanks so much Mary! Feedback means a lot to me :)

  5. So, Tajoreth's mom is a Codebearer. Does she come in more? Great Chapter.

    1. Thanks! And she might, I actually decided on spur-of-the-moment inspiration to make her a character, whilst as before she an "off-screen" character.

  6. Great chapter. Does Tajoreth's mom come in more since she is a Codebearer?


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