Erica's body had wanted to fidget, every instinct telling her to move, to do something, preferably to run away, but she had waited. Listening. Watching. And now she regretted it.
She watched from the shadows as the Tribol devoured the last of the woman in a matter of seconds. Her heart was beating faster than wheels of a speeding train and her breathing became slow. The woman's scream rang in her ears.
She had heard about Tribols, they were bloodthirsty, savage creatures but they were this brutal she had no idea. Erica recalled the woman's face, she had been young- so radiant, so full of light, but now the head lay on the ground. The Tribol hadn't spared the woman at all; the body was lacerated. She couldn't bear to watch but her eyes weren't listening to her.
A wave of nausea clutched her stomach. She covered the remnants with her cloak as tears stung her eyes. She started fire with wood. The least she could do was to give the woman a funeral. The fire flickered feebly, its passion curbed as well. She watched as fire engulfed her cloak and the only memory of the woman, the woman she failed to protect, and the ashes blew with the wind.
Anno Regis 1645, Westleighs had come to power 25 years ago and had been ruling since and Florice had flourished in the past years.....Or so the world thinks, but total despair is commonplace in Florice. No matter how long the lifespan is the God of Death doesn't seem to bother and even the people in heaven would have to reserve places to stay by now. The population had fallen by half over the years.
Sitting by the window in her room, the lands seemed to be at peace as if no one had ever seen chaos. Appearance can be deceiving, the girl sighed. Erica, the Lady of Westleigh saw the sky turn red and instantly the woman's face flashed in her mind, the fire seemed to have burned her desire as well, her desire to live. Why did she go to the forest anyway? She could have gone to any corner of the town if she wanted fresh air.
An exhausted girl stepped into the ballroom. Two thin-stripped braids were tied at her back and rest of her brown-chestnut hair were left open to swing wildly with her movement. It was an off-the-shoulder style with spaghetti straps to hold up the bodice and a full skirt that made her waist look small. The people appeared to be absorbed in their merriment, ignorant of all the pain in the world and the girl shivered, not by the cold oh Gods! No, the ignorance made her shiver. How many were there who were left to rot, who never got a funeral, who never got the mercy of fire?
The Westleighs had always lived in debt, not that it was known to much people, rather on the contrary people believed them to be the wealthiest of all the seven kingdoms. The death rate had increased drastically and by the Heaven's, the army was always so impotent that now it was a waste to even try to save lives. Even the Lady of Westleigh found it worthless to try. In the end we all are going to embrace death then why leave sooner?
"Oh my daughter! Meet King Edward of Adlan, he is an acquaintance, a special acquaintance indeed!" her father was warm as always. If Florice was surviving, it was all because of the king. The only person who actually cared for the subjects. The girl forced a smile. "It is a pleasure to be honoured with your presence, Your Majesty." The King of Adlan beamed or that's what the girl thought. His lips twitched a bit or other than that Lord Adlan seemed to be unfazed by any emotion. And Lady of Westleigh was thankful for that, only one smile had cost her too much; she wouldn't have been to keep up with the fake play much longer. She bowed slightly and excused herself. A ball for their king's birthday. It was a tradition to hold a ball one day before the birthday.
It was a feast. A grand feast. But the only thing that tempted Erica was a companion. The only way to forget her misery was to forget the very existence of her sorrow. She grabbed a bottle of ale and made her way out. She gulped all of the alcohol in one go. Oh! It was strong, for when she made it to her chambers, she couldn't remember anything. The whole world started to somersault and in spite of the situation, sleep claimed her eventually.
A deeper ache took over as if she had the flu and every muscle in her body was on fire, but forgetting became much easier by then. She hadn't discussed about the woman with anyone, she was sure no one would really understand. Maybe her father but she couldn't tell him that she escaped the palace. And besides, Death was like talking about the weather. But it was killing her from the inside. Sleep only meant one thing in the past days- nightmares. She lay awake in the bed for hours sometimes staring at the ceiling, wishing her mind belonged to someone else.
The screams would replay themselves and she always woke in cold sweat with her heart pounding violently. She wanted freedom, to be free from this fear. This fear that had started to devour her.
That death would come for them too and it would not be pretty.
Anno Regis 1650, Five Years Later, Lady Erica of Westleigh had never seen anyone move with such ease before. Well, not with such a huge sword. The sword was hanging from his belt but the way he walked......her grip tightened on her sword. It was much smaller compared to his but the skill is what matters.
Amidst the crowd she couldn’t see his face and wearing a cloth mask wasn’t helping. She kept looking at him with one hand on her sword until he was out of sight. Suspicions of the identity of this man filled her gut but the sight made her forget it all.
Alicia Street should have been deserted but the district was bustling with crowd in the wee hours of the morning. This was how she had always wanted the town to look like and it didn’t matter to her that it was the occasion which brought such a scenario. It was their dear king’s birthday. She watched as the townsfolk carried cartloads of flowers, the baker hurried with the cake and almost tripped at the stairs and others decorated the street.
It all looked so beautiful. So soothing. That someone could almost imagine the world to be at peace.
Almost. The lady dressed all in red with her face covered in a mask, mounted her horse and galloped back to the palace. There were soldiers stationed today at every corner. At least the town would be safe today.
I hope you all liked it!!!!!!!!
It's my first chapter...I have written 13 so far