Friday, November 1, 2013

Friends and Enemies // Chapter Thirteen // Prisoners

 A nineteen-year-old girl bent over to draw water from the well in the courtyard of the castle, humming softly to herself. After drawing the water, she wiped her brow, and shaded her eyes towards the gate of the palace. The tall figure of Prince Kedemeth was riding up the neatly cobbled road, his jet-black horse gleaming with sweat.
   "Aliatha! Come here!" he barked, seeing her across the courtyard. Aliatha abandoned her water pitcher next to the well and rushed to his side.
"Yes, Your Majesty?" she asked breathlessly.
   Kedemeth flicked the reins to her as he dismounted. "Fetch me a cool glass of wine and some newly baked bread after you deliver Tisrock to the stables."
  Oh dear, now Cook's going to be cross at me for not fetching the water, and she was in such a foul mood when I left the kitchen. Please help me to be patient, Author.
   "Yes, sir," Aliatha agreed meekly, taking Tisrock's reins and leading him to the stables.
   Aliatha scrambled to fetch Kedemeth his wine and bread, hoping that he wouldn't be in a foul mood. Surprisingly, he seemed to be rather jovial, which did not fit with his usual temperament. He was in the king's sitting room, obviously waiting for his father, when Aliatha carried his food in.
   "Thank you, my dear," he offered flirtatiously, reaching for her hand. Aliatha pretended not to notice, and turned away, cheeks burning. How she struggled with loving her enemies!
   Luckily, Tashmath entered the room at that precise moment. "You requested my presence?" he asked his son gruffly.
   Kedemeth stood. "Yes, Father. Early this morning, there was a raid on the Fortress. Unfortunately, the prisoners we had hoped to expel were freed, but we gained two new captives. Teclemith of Gossgath and that Chosen Four girl with the tree name."
   His father smiled wickedly. "Very good, son. Now you can force Teclemith to agree to his sister's betrothal and marriage, and we can give the girl to Tash as a gift of our loyalties."
His son nodded. "Yes, sir. But is not lord Tash away at Lorthin for a time? He strictly warned us not to intrude upon him in his hideaway."
   Tashmath agreed. "We will keep them both here for the time being. Send a message to Tajoreth and tell him to bring them here as soon as he can, under strict guard."
   Kedemeth left immediately to send the message while Aliatha escaped to the kitchen to get Cook her water. Cook was very angry at her, and only calmed down a little bit when she informed her that the prince had requested her to fetch him food and drink.
   Once she managed to escape her kitchen duties, Aliatha was given the task of preparing a room for the girl prisoner they were bringing. It was in one of the turrets, and was surprisingly pleasant for being for a prisoner. Tashmath himself instructed her that she was to be like the prisoner's guard, keeping watch over her constantly. Aliatha wondered what this girl was like. She was part of the Rebellion, but not native to Tashra. She was an outsider, she had even been rumored to have been from the Veil itself!

   Willow leaned forward wearily in the saddle. Her entire lower left leg throbbed still with pain. She was sure that they hadn't set it right. But she was also determined not to let the enemy see her pain. Clenching her teeth, she had managed to keep an even demeanor. But her foot still hurt and her back hurt now, from sitting on a horse going the speed {or so she thought} of that turtle on Torpor she had been scammed into riding once.
   There were four guards assigned to her, and they rode next to her in a tight circle. Their faces showed no pity.
   She could only pass the time wondering if the others had learned of their capture, wonder where exactly they were headed, wonder how much longer this tortuous ride would take, and wonder how on earth she was supposed to escape now. And that's how the time passed. Mile after mile.
   Finally, as dusk was falling, they made it to the Capital. And then, {finally finally!} they made it to the palace. Willow was assisted in her dismount by a guard, who carried her up through the stone castle to her new room, the top of one of the turrets. She was so embarrassed about being carried that she pretended to be asleep the entire time. But once he left the room and locked the door, she sat up and surveyed the room.
   It was a circular grey stone room, not small and not large, with one window taking up quite a bit of one side of the room. The decor was a simple. A pleasant mattress {no bed frame} and a blanket and some pillows on top of the mattress. A simple washstand with a pitcher and bowl completed the room. Not too good, but not too bad either.
    Limping to the window, she leaned out of it and breathed in the cool evening air. A knock drew her attention to the rough wooden door. It creaked open, and a petite girl in a plain woolen dress slipped in, carrying a wooden tray with a metal cup and a metal dish.

Aliatha offered the girl the tray, and smiled kindly. "You must be tired from your journey. Here is some water and bread."
   She was surprised to see a smile twitch onto the girl's lightly tanned face. "So I'm officially a prisoner now, getting bread and water?" she asked teasingly.
   Aliatha studied the girl, who seemed to be in her late teens or early twenties. She had braided waist-length hair that looked black but gleamed brown in the late evening sunlight, and eyes that were the color of dark chocolate. Her skin was a pale bronze, and she obviously had spent a while in the sun.
   "Willow," she offered, extending her hand. Aliatha took it and shook it politely, still observing. Her other hand rested on her left leg, which was wrapped in torn dark cloth.
   "What happened to your leg?" she asked, indicating it with one hand.
   Willow rubbed it self-consciously. "I kicked a rock while trying to escape. I think I sprained my ankle, but I haven't had time to check it out yet."
   Aliatha studied it. "I can try to wrap it, if you like. My name is Aliatha, daughter of Adrore."
   "That's a pretty name," Willow offered as she grasped the heel of her boot and pulled hard. Her foot slid out, and Aliatha undid the hastily wrapped in strips of torn white sheets ankle.
   After re-wrapping it, tighter this time, Aliatha smiled softly. "Your ankle is only sprained, lucky for you."
   Willow limped over to the window. "I don't believe in luck." She turned to face Aliatha. "Do you?"
   She shook her head. "No. But sometimes I feel unlucky." Aliatha had no idea why she was opening up to this complete stranger, but the softness in Willow's eyes was a lot kinder than anything she had experienced from anyone else for a long time.
   "I am of the daughters of Adrore, who is, or at least, was a Keeper of the Law in the capital city of one of the provinces. But I was taken from him by force four months ago, to make sure that his loyalties wouldn't stray toward the rebellion. I also am engaged, but I do not know where my fiancee is now. If he's dead, or imprisoned, or free, I do not know." She wiped away a tear. "I miss him dearly. When I was taken, he vowed to me that he would never stop searching. He vowed that he would find me." Willow patted her hand sympathetically.
   "Don't worry, Aliatha. If you'll help me," she lowered her voice to just above a whisper. "We will escape."
   Aliatha's heart started beating faster. "Is that lawful?" she gasped, hardly daring to hope.
   Willow rolled her dark eyes. "Of course it is. You weren't born a slave, and were taken illegally from your family. So you are not legally a slave," she explained.
   "But you'll need to help us, me and Teclemith I mean. His twin sister, Hyaline, is forceably betrothed to Kedemeth, and he's gonna try to make Teclemith agree to the engagement and eventual marriage," Willow told her.
    Aliatha gasped. "Oh, I cannot conceive of a worse fate than marriage to that man! I will help you, and Teclemith. I promise."
   To seal it, the girls shook hands and vowed. Willow had found out that vowing was very serious on Tashra. Your word was your bond.


   "In here, Rebel," the harsh guard directed, shoving Teclemith into a round turret room. Teclemith
 collapsed with exhaustion on the straw mattress. He had been walking most of the day.
  A soft knock echoed through the stone room, and the lock turned, and a young lady padded in.
  As the door shut behind her, she offered him a tray of a bit of bread and water. "My name's Aliatha," she offered shyly. Then lowering her voice, she whispered, "Willow and I are forming a plan of escape. Do not worry, I will help both of you escape. By my word and by my faith in the Author who created all things."
   Teclemith grasped her outstretched hand to show that he approved and agreed to the pledge. "Thank you."

   Well, I hoped you liked it! I can't wait to start working on the next chapter! Unfortunately I can't release a name right now, as I'm not sure exactly what will happen next chapter. But keep watching my pinterest board for F&E and you might see some sneak peaks!
   Oh, and I added Aliatha to the characters page/post.

 Be a friend, not an enemy,



  1. I can't wait until you start the next chapter too! XD Good job, and I can't wait for another post! :)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I love it, Willow! You're an incredible writer; God has blessed you with an amazing talent! Keep up the good work!


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