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wish-TB
Posted on 2005.10.16 at 20:49
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I really can't think of anything to say, but some ideas hit me while I was in the shower--go figure--so I wanted to put them down before I forgot them. I will have to develop them more later, but at least the stage is set.



She felt it as the plate mail began to give way and the spearhead pierce the armor. Instinctively she grasped the shaft as she was spun around and then flung across the room. The sudden impact of the marble wall stunned her senses. She was only vaguely aware she was sliding down the smooth surface until she was jolted back to reality by a callous hand upon her throat. Her mind was still in a daze, but her body was not yet ready to die. Her boots slid along the marble wall searching for a way to hold herself up while her hands struggled with the much larger and stronger hand from which she was suspended. Her vision was already dim from the concussion, but her ears would never forget those words. "Twice you have ventured here and twice you have been met with death. I wonder, shall death take you this time or will it once again throw your souless corpse back into the world?" The voice laughed sounding rich and pure, almost deceptive if one did not know it was pure evil. "You may still be of use, so I shall not kill you yet. But remember, if you do survive, your life and your death belong to me." Her last thoughts were a falling sensation as air burned her lungs and then the world was blessedly black.

***

"Kiera? Kiera, wake up?"
"Aidan, what is it?"
"Come on Kiera, they're coming! I want to show you the soldiers."
"Can't it wait?"
"Get up!"

With a laugh, the elder sibling sat up and looked at her brother. "All right, I'm up." Amused by his excitement, she found herself a bit curious about the soldiers that mysteriously came in so early in the morning. Quietly they padded through the hallway to the upper chamber and looked out. The smooth granite was cold beneath her feet and as they approached the drafty window she nearly protested, but then she looked out. Hundreds of thousands of shadows moving silently in the darkness. You could tell they were soldiers, but the details of their armor remained hidden in the darkness.

"Why do you suppose they are here?"
"I don't know..." She commented, distractedly trying to get a better view.
"Should we ask father? I mean, if it was nothing bad he would tell us right?"
"Well, what good is there in that many soldiers?" Cool eyes turned to her brother, "I mean, we don't see them training during the day and they come when the whole town is asleep, so why the secrecy if there is no danger?"
"We could ask him in the morning?"
"No, somehow I don't think he wants us to know. Let me see if I can find something out; I'm going to get a closer look."
"But Kiera, they surely have weapons, you could get hurt!"
"Nah, they won't see me. Don't worry!" She winked at his doubtful face.
"Alright, but I'm coming along so I can get help if you do something stupid."
"Hey, I'm your older sister, I'd never do something stupid."
His snort was the last response before footsteps were heard padding down deeper into the barracks.

***

"Kiera? Please come back to us...please."
"No..." the voice sounded desparate to her ears. "No, don't. Please stop."
"Kiera, come back. Please don't leave us."
"No. Duncan, stop. Don't go further..."
"Don't leave me."
"No, Duncan. Duncan!"

She bolted upright on the cot. Her clothes clung to her as she grabbed the cot to steady her spinning head. She felt warm hands guiding her gently back down onto the furs.

"No...please no..."
"Kiera."
"I'm sorry." She closed her eyes as they came into focus, unwilling to look him in the face.
"Kiera, please, don't do this."
"Why?" She felt the tears behind her eyelids, willing them back down.
"There was no other way."
"There is more than one healer here, you did not have to do this."
"Yes I did...I never would have forgiven myself if I had let someone else lose you."
"Please go."
"But Kiera, you need help...you nearly died--"
"Just go." Her eyes opened staring at the wall of the tent. It seemed like an enternity passed in the silence between them, as agonizing understanding was realized.
Finally, he broke the silence. "I'll be back soon with some food. See if you can rest while I'm away."

She felt his hand brush back some hair that still clung to her face. She felt it as he pulled the furs a little higher to make sure she was warm. She heard his footsteps as he messed with various objects in the tent, presumably checking to make sure it was secure. She heard the tent flap lift and fall and heard his muffled voice followed by a reply. Again, making sure the tent was secure in his absence. Finally she closed her eyes as the tears leaked free, hating herself for wishing he was still by her side.

***

"Sir?"
She blinked. "Yes?"
"I said the men are ready. We are waiting on your word."

She looked down at the map. The night was damp and cool and the candles holding the map down offered little light and even less warmth. Suddenly she felt much colder.

"Understood. They have two hours and then we shall move."
"Yes sir."

She did not look up as he left her alone in the makeshift room. I can't risk any more lives. I don't want more death. Even taking the whole army in would not save him. I have to do this alone, there is no other way. Even if we got further into the palace, there is no way they could defeat those...those things. And I can't risk giving them over to something worse than death.

Abruptly she realized she was shaking, the flames dancing wildly on the unsturdy table. She forced herself to relax. Her decision was made. They would make it appear as an attack, but she would be the only one who did not escape.

© Kalla October 16, 2005


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