Chapter 4 Of blood and oath

Of fire and ash cover

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I was caught up with writing, reading, holidaying and trying (and failing) to get a bikini body.

Anyway… here is chapter 4 ‘Of fire and Ash’

Enjoy

C. Perez Smith

The rain had finally settled into a steady drizzle, as Scyla finished learning about mind readers and their influence in the battles. She found it hard to believe that she was the only one who had such a suspicion about that man.

Certain that he was in fact using treachery to read her, she made the decision to go to the King.

The staircase was narrow and it didn’t take long for Scyla to run headfirst into the muttering Knoxx. Her eyes softened as she saw him and she smiled awkwardly. Scyla had never lost it like that before. Attacked a man, even worse a blind man, was simply unthinkable.

“Oof sorry Scyla, I was just coming to look for you, the king demands your presence.”

Her smile faded quickly and she nodded.

Scyla’s eyes burned with such ferocity that Aiovan feared his soul would melt. The large oak doors had shaken with her presence, and her anger was evident. He drummed his ringed fingers nervously on the arm of the throne. Gracefully padding across the floor, Scyla’s grim expression was etched all over her beautiful pale face. Stopping just before the marble steps, she didn’t bother to bow, her arms folded angrily across her chest.

“You allowed a damn mind reader to get inside these walls Uncle” her voice fuelled by her anger.

“Lady Scyla” replied the King calmly, yet still tapping his fingers.

“Do not ‘Lady’ me, did you know he was a reader? He made me look a fool in front of the entire court.” Her raised voice bounced off the walls. “Everyone was watching me attempt to beat him into a mess, yet nothing Uncle! I couldn’t lay a finger on him, he predicted my every move! And for God’s sake he is blind! There is no way he could be that skilled in Capoeira. Unless he had been trained by Sao and that is impossible” she paced in front of him, wild and filled with fury.

The king remained calm “Could it be that he is just simply skilled in combat my lady? I heard that he is much older than the youngers. Maybe he has already seen his fair share of battles? Have you considered that, before you took it upon yourself to raid every book in my library?”

Exasperated, she uncrossed her arms and gestured to Baine and Knoxx. “Ask your council then!” she hissed, her teeth firmly clenched together.

Baine strutted forward, ever the epitome of arrogance. “My King” he said, bowing slightly. Knoxx was huddled closely behind him. Baine’s grey eyes watched Scyla like she was his. He wanted her, and he was determined that she would be his for the taking.

“It is as my lady Scyla says, he does appear to be more than a simple peasant, training for a position on the guard. His skills were highly impressive, and dare I say even matched Scyla’s abilities.

She glared at Baine, the sight of this sent shivers through Knoxx. Her arms clenched fiercely into fists at her sides as the steady thrum returned again.

“As he humiliated her Sire, I think it necessary that a sufficient punishment be put in place for him. He disgraced her in front of her army.”

This was too much for her to handle, erupting into a blaze of emotions.

“Disgraced me? Humiliated? Was I a disappointment Baine? Would you like to pit yourself against me, and see who walks away in one piece?” she yelled, her hands erupting into a sea of scarlet flames.

With all the anger and hurt that was contained inside her, Scyla threw her hands out in front of her. The only object that could not handle the heat was the giant oak doors.  A sea of fire, gushed from her fingertips towards the colossus doors, turning them into a pile of coal and embers. It was too quick.

Her heart was ablaze and so was she.

It was difficult to work out where the flames ended and she began.

She was simply fire.

Pure, natural and beautiful.

The King, obviously used to Scyla’s outbursts motioned to his guards to start the clean-up of the once magnificent entrance.

Scyla lay sprawled nearly unconscious on the floor, her energy had been extinguished. She was drenched in sweat, a faint trail of smoke rose from her body.

Unnecessary tears poured from her eyes and she hurriedly wiped them away. Baine didn’t need another reason to try and comfort and touch her. The tears were not from being upset. She was frustrated, and it was overwhelming. She hated to feel weak, and that’s exactly how Fievel had made her feel. Like she was unskilled. And that was something that she could not bear to feel.

“Scyla?” murmured Knoxx, she hadn’t noticed him kneeling beside her. “Are you alright?” he touched her arm instinctively, but flinched from the heat that was radiating from her. She felt alight.

“Yes” she replied coolly slowly rising to her feet.

Baine stood staring at her from the foot of the King’s throne. He had risen to his feet calmly.

“Have you finished destroying my palace Scyla?”

“Yes”

“Pardon?”

“Yes Uncle” she replied bitterly, her eyes locked firmly on Aiovan.

“I’ve decided that this reader, as you call him, would be a welcome addition to my guard. Go and retrieve him Baine” he commanded directing him to where the doors used to be. He readjusted the crown that sat on top a mess of brown curls.

“Scyla” beckoned the King. She slowly walked to his side, as always his faithful servant, bound to him by blood and oath. He held a power over her that he believed could never be broken. She paced at his side, a caged animal. Trapped. Daring a glance at him, a sly smile on his face. She knew that smile, he was up to something. Her lips pursed as she heard the pad of feet and the clunk of a wooden walking stick. The reader walked steadily into the room, followed by her shadow, Baine. Knoxx shuffled nervously in the far corner of the room. “Dismissed” Aiovan muttered, waving his hand tiresomely towards the guards.

Scyla was not comfortable. She hated being in the company of others, unless she was ordering them around, and what was coming next she hated the most.

“So, what is your business here then…?”

“Fievel, your majesty.”

“Fievel, what did you hope to achieve by making a fool out of my own kin? Surely you know who she is and what she is to me?”

The silence was deafening.

Glancing between the King and Fievel, and briefly to Baine. Fievel had not moved, he stood leaning slightly on his staff. He was hard to read, which irritated her. She had never found anyone as annoying as him, not even Baine, then again he was the only person to match her in combat.

“Well? What is your purpose in my kingdom? You obviously already know your skill. You are older than the rest of the youngers in the courtyard, and have experience. You bear no colours of Edona. Are you a wanderer Fievel? Or are you a reader sent by another kingdom to infiltrate mine?”

Scyla was shocked, he had listened to her. However the King was still playing his favourite game. Talk them into submission, highlight their skill and then recruit and use.

“My lord, the power of your kingdom is renowned. I come from a small fishing village outside the kingdom of Edona called Sirin. There are not many people there and we are mainly known for trading pearls. My skill was useless, and as you are also aware I am blind. I am not a reader my lord, but a shadow. A skill that is of no use to my kin and my disability which is a hindrance. I have heard of your power and grace for all skilled. I have been a wanderer yes, as you can see it takes a blind man longer to journey the 7000 leagues, hence my age. What I seek, my lord is nothing more than to be accepted, and my skill put to good use.”

The king rubbed his beard thoughtfully. It usually took a great deal more convincing and a large amount of gold. Scyla’s suspicions began to increase. So he is not a reader but a shadow. What kind of a shadow would seek to be controlled in the way Aiovan would? She mused. He was renowned for his brutality. Aiovan used the skilled to his own advantage, and when he was done they were left empty shells, their skills diminished, or the more fortunate souls would be dead.

“Interesting” was his response, glancing at Scyla. A knowing glance that revealed more than he could say. Train him he’s mine. A shadow in the midst of this kingdom. We would be invincible. He thought to himself. Beckoning to Baine to get the guards. A whisper in the ear was all it took. The tallest guard marched forward “This way” he said deeply and gravelly. ”Your quarters will be with the new recruits.” With that Fievel; escorted by the guards left the marble throne room.

Baine’s jaw was set firm and disbelieving of Aiovan’s quick decision.

“Uncle” she implored, a slight plea in her tone.

Aiovan noticed this new change in his niece’s demeanour. “My word is final child, I know you will get the best from our new addition” he chuckled heartily.

“I cannot train a shadow my lord it is near impossible to control his movements.”

“Well” said the king rising to his feet and clasping his hands firmly behind his back, “I guess you will enjoy the challenge”

The conversation was over. She exhaled and smiled to her master. She bowed slightly and turned on her heel, marching from the great room. Her footsteps echoed down the flagstone hall.

The king moved to the purple velvet curtain to the left of his throne and made his way up the narrow winding stairs to his tower. He needed Lectio.

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