In a corner laid a stone table next to a window which slowly let in the comforting warmth of the sun. In a chair sat a good woman staring awkwardly into her mirror on the desk, while her reflection stared back with the same blankness she had, fingers massaging her ached temples. Two days ago, a red dragon angrily raged her home, took her father for ransom, and now tomorrow was to begin a hasty travel to meet this dragon to discuss terms for her father’s return. She didn’t know how to deal with this situation, all she knew to do was go to the dragon-like was demanded and see for herself what was to do.
Now her attention went from her reflection to a picture that hung from the wall beside her desk.
“Oh, dear Mother, what should I do?" No answer came, just the dry empty silence of her castle room. “Please tell me, sweet Mother? She begged the hanging picture, but still, no answer came. “I guess I’ll have to do this on my own”. She said to herself.
Julia was confused. She had felt this way even when her Father had taken over the sheltering and care of her. Her Father was a nice man no doubt, but he was nowhere near like her Mother. Her Mother read her fairy tailed adventures that gave her hopes and dreams, her Father didn’t. He thought she was too big for that nonsense, and he thought legends nonsense. He had said many times that he was a good Christian in a Christian land and that legions of sorceries and fairy craft were of the Devil’s work to distract fellow man from God and Godliness. Mainly her Father had no time at all to be there with her. Either he was off hunting the wild for dear, rabbit, or snake for food, or, he was off warring with other kings to establish more of his Christian land and Godly rule. He wasn’t the greatest king, nor was he noble to nature or women, except for her. He had many enemies. His greatest rival was her uncle Blithe Holmstatur, which was an ongoing battle for the king, her Father, but for Julia Holmstatur, was worse, so she felt. There was one thing she could consider, for her Fathers behalf, he made his kingdom’s wall writhe with protection and wealth.
Julia looked out the window. She could see her father’s guards standing tall and mighty at the gates. She had given these guards orders to let no one in, and no one out the city’s mainframe in regard to her father’s capture. Even though the guards stood protecting, with her father gone, she no-longer felt this. At least the guards were there. She told herself.
She still remembered the day when her Mother faded away to the sky, and now most of all missed her very much. Her Mother by maiden name was: Francien Mullen Tuslin Baily. Francien wasn’t raised in the rounded city of Cantuc like her daughter Julia, but along the valley of the ‘Great Mongauln River’ in a nice little ram-shack cob hut mixed well by Francien’s Father: Sur Stalione Baily, a tall six foot five, x-High Commander of a Fleet Army in the Mongauln Fortress of Layderian.
Francien was a young sweet woman when she met her future husband and king. She had worked the days hard in the horse stalls, mucking the sewer smelling floors, stacking bundles upon bundles of brown hay, and grooming the wild hair of the horses, keeping the horses free of dangerous plagues that were known to with being within the winds then. Luckily no horses had caught the persecution of those foul plagues, which was good. Francien one day was almost complete with her labor when she stopped in mid-groom to listen to voices out in the yard beyond the barn door. She felt an uncertainty that she should be eavesdropping on her father’s voice led a conversation with a voice of whom she could not comprehend, but when she peered through the crack of the barn’s doors,
Francien was taken back in surprise at the battalion that stood before her. It had been a long time since she’d seen this many armed soldiers standing posted in her father’s yard.
“I understand Sir; there will not be any disturbances made from a single troop member. We only need three days of restoration. Every one of us has come a long way, heading Sir, to the eastern way of Morgadgevil. My men are tired, hungry, and will gravely appreciate the stay.”
“No my Lord, the people here will gladly appreciate you being here.” Sur Stalione politely corrected the king of kings. “FRANCIEN” He yelled in a great boom of gratitude, and authority.
Blithe looked up from the ground below as Francien’s form entered the air outside, obediently reached for her Father’s side, and took his hand. “Meet and welcome the
High King of all Layderian, Blithe
Holmstatur.” “It’s nice to finally greet you, my glorious King.” “And you dear daughter of a well-known soldier of the land.” A few minutes went by as Sur Stalione Baily watched King Blithe and his daughter’s eyes as they looked upon each other. He knew as they knew, had fallen in love. “Daughter” Her Father’s voice came between the two. Slowly Francien reluctantly took her smile from Blithe and turned her eye’s attention to her Father. “Will you kindly accompany our King to the kitchens, sit him down for a cup of mead, while I set his room for the nights to come, and can you relay a message to the kitchen maidens to cook up a fine meal for feasting?
“I will greatly do so, my Father. Come this way, my King.” Francien said with a daughterly kiss on the cheek. Sur Stalione watched as his only daughter walked away with the King, a smile protruding the corner of his lips, that same smile which found him again four months later when Francien walked the Isle of the Rock towed with the King of all Layderian. And so, Julia’s Father and king laid within the mists of the dragon’s keep, blindfolded and bound by cords no mortal human could see unless he or she knew the magic to do so.
It is easy to say that time can roll on by ones’ eye without a blink of noticing it, but these abducted hours of the king seems to have lasted a century. As if the minutes no longer existed or turned therefore; the long hot summer sun lingered in the bright blue haze above Julia’s confused and ached head as she roamed the courtyard, fingers pressed firmly again at her temples. Julia had a habit of doing this every few pains of bolting seconds, trying hard to release the tight fit pressure of the day. Her mind would continue to replay over and over of the days to come, though she tried, she could not persuade herself the comfort of thinking otherwise. Never being able to accomplish this made her head pulse even more so, and the beautiful wonders of smells that radiated from the shaven hedges, along with the many astonishing purples, greens, and light blue-grays of flowers, couldn’t evacuate the tremors of tears that wanted to fall from her cheeks. It was only a quarter till mid-day.
Boredom swept the minds of the majority who lived or were visiting the streets of Cantuc. ‘Patients can only last so long’ Julia swore to herself. Only a few marketers in the city had dared set their shops to action, the ones who didn’t set shop, were too blankly devastated to come out of their houses, huts, or shires. Yet the shopkeepers, who did, knew that the brave had a hard journey ahead. Soldiers, knights, commanders, and horses, all needed supplies for their long adventure away from Cantuc. No one knew if anything more would proceed the daylight hours. Those who still had somewhat of strait minds prayed to the many Gods and Goddesses (mainly the Christian God) for the protection of those who will leave, and for those who would be left behind the writhing walls to continue the daily things that have brought everyone their meanings in life.
Julia herself was slowly walking in an endless circle around the ancient sundial that sat in the center of the courtyard, even the bright blue bird bath, which sat inches away, couldn’t stop the pacing feet of Julia, nor the Supply Chief’s who placed directly behind her.
“When will the supply wagon be ready?” Julia asked the tall, lanky man who was pacing the moments by her side, reading off a scrappy parchment of supplies which were being loaded to the several wagons.
“Not more than two hours.” He said through his low cheekbones, which set his mouth at an unusual underbite, causing his skinny bottom lip to stick out and touch the tip of his nose. He had no upper teeth, which made his speech a little hard to comprehend. His half empty mouth was covered with his shrubby facial hair, which was perched on his cheekbones like a bramble nest. Along with wide lightning, bolt scare lined the back of his arm, leading from the sun-battered shoulder blade to the back of his muscled wrist.
When look at the Supply Chief, Julia remembered Corzly most famous battle stories. She remembered how he said four months had passed the supply chief’s torturous healing time, and the ruff battle of ongoing fevers lead him in many dreamless nights as the nurses who had taken the care over his hurt felt the body, stayed by his side day after day, giving the medicine needed to keep the swelling down. A constant watch was ordered over the meat growing wound. Whitish yellowed puss was constantly removed from wrist and elbow. Both meds and swellation of his jaw, gums, and lymph nodes, made it hard for him to use his tongue to keep the things he wanted out of his throat. All the nurses on duty had to keep swabbing his mouth for constant un-clotting blood so he would not drown in his sleep or choke on food while lying on his back.
Commander Corzly was Platoon Leader of the Tenth Command Post, stationed on the beach of Morgadgevil. The Post was meant only for the safekeeping of the wounded and sick troops. He was on guard duty when horns bladed the air and cries came from the walls on both sides of him. The Raven Raiders from the coast of Von Nomulus attacked the mount of troops unloading wagons beneath the walls of the Post.
With orders immediately given, Corzly shouted his troops to a defensive formation. It was early dawn when the attack met their silver swords. Gleaming battlements paid a dear cost when the walls couldn’t hold together, and the enemy rained through like a flash flood. There weren’t many attackers, which made it easy to overrule the threat that came but messed the whole fort to pieces. While attempting to pry a foe’s sword from slicing his Father’s head off. This was when Corzly received a big bang of the shield in the face. With a struggle, Corzly managed to keep his feet firmly in place upon the ground, and his wit high as he thrust his father’s attacker in the eyeball, his blade becoming stuck in the skull like a stone as blood seeped slowly from the blade’s edges. As Corzly turned to see if his father was all right, Corzly was again attacked by the same foe that had an eye kabob sword. Corzly received that deep painful slash as he fought the opponent dead. With vision blurred and failing brain, he found himself unable to fight no more as he fell into a queasy blackness at his father’s feet. After his wounds were healed, he was momentarily detoured to Cantuc, where he became the Unit Commander of Supply in till further notice. Julia shouldered at the story told.
“Are the men and horses ready?” Julia asked as they emerged from the courtyard, stopping together at the top of the stairs that led to the lower market where the people were gropingly moving in one devastated but a calm dimension.
“Yes, they are all ready. The men are drinking water, taking one last stitch of rest, you might say. In about a Half hour Commander Lascivious will gather the troops to give those orders on what is forthcoming.” Corzly said with a reassuring glance at Julia. “And the horses are having their feeding bags double-checked.”
Julia’s mixed emotion of feelings inside kept her from moving further within the city’s people. She did not want to be outside in the blazing heat. She felt like hiding in some cave far away … away from the loss of her Mother, now her Father. ‘OHhh STOP IT!’ She screamed inside her head, demanding herself to regain control. ‘My Father is not gone yet.’ With sudden rage never felt before, she swore with a determination that she would be the one to bring her father back. Feeling a little better, she put some calmness into the frontal lobe of her control, using that power to bring a small smile form to her feelings. Before they departed, she asked Commander Corzly to send her personal mistress women to her chambers.
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