This is actually part one of a novelization of a comic my friends and I are working on. I’m writing it (my friend Ry is editing for me) so that my other two friends have something to base the comic off of when they draw it. The creator of the comic is @/cirosela on Instagram. Follow us on Instagram for more details and comic updates @/onecomic.official). The chapters are gonna be short and the story structure will be kind of weird because this is an ongoing comic so I need to format it in a way that can be made into a web comic.
Thanks for reading and remember to check out our comic
TRIGGER WARNING: Later in this book there are mentions of abuse and PTSD
“Dominick, please save me.”
King Xavier of Thiria pleaded to his best friend through his communicator. Dominick was presently in his shop reforging the General of the kingdom’s sword. One of the few downsides to being the only blacksmith in the area was that he always ended up with the nobles’ piles of broken hunks of metal. Most of the time, Xavier just had weapons brought to Dominick instead of the royal blacksmith. Still, more business for him.
Dominick looked down at his communicator’s screen, which displayed the image of his distraught friend.
“’Zavier, for the last time, I am not getting you out of attending that meeting.”
This response was met with a loud groan.
“Wow, that one was impressive. Make it a little longer and you might beat last year’s record.”
“I’m sure it’ll happen as we’re walking there, just you wait.”
A girl crammed her face next to Xavier’s in the camera as she spoke.
“Ameas, shouldn’t you be with General Lu preparing for the meeting?”
“I could say the same to you, your majesty. Besides, Ophelia said to just find something to do for a bit while the Prisoner is being prepared.”
“‘Prisoner’?” Dominick asked.
“Yeah,” Xavier replied, “Apparently they managed to capture some important officer during the battle at Kiral.”
“They say he’s the second-in-command of his chief or something like that,” Ameas added.
“See? It won’t be all boring. Besides, to be such a high ranking officer, he’s gotta be one nice hunk of meat.”
“True,” Ameas concurred, “I’ll bet he’s tall, hot, and super ripped.”
The laughter of the three friends was cut off by a teasingly cross voice.
“You know, if you guys spent less time romanticizing about your ideal sexy prisoner, you might be on time for things now and then.”
“Rubin, always the party-pooper, I see,” Dominick chuckled.
“Ugh. I guess we better go, Dominick,” Xavier sighed, “See you later.”
Xavier hung up.
“You always have to come along just as the fun starts, huh, Rubin?”
“Yeah, yeah, very funny. Now c’mon, or Ophelia’s gonna kick all our asses. It took me long enough to find you as it is.”
“You know, as the King’s guard, I feel like you should be keeping better track of him,” Ameas taunted.
“Oh, shut up. You should just count yourself lucky that I interrupted Xavier and Dominick’s flirting before it got awkward for you.”
“Hey! We were not-”
Xavier stopped at the dubious looks he received from his friends.
“Come on, you can’t tell me you weren’t thinking the same thing I was that entire time,” Ameas said.
The young king grumbled and followed her and Rubin through the palace courtyard towards the war council chamber.
The chamber was a tall, round room. Filling most of the floor space was a large map of both the kingdom of Thiria and the lands of Helligsterk. In front of the map, directly adjacent to the door was a small stone throne. Dozens of rows of seats spiraled up the walls of the dimly lit chamber, each one filled with counselors and war ministers.
As Xavier and his friends entered, every head in the room bowed or nodded in respect. He took his seat on the throne, Rubin standing at his right side at attention. Ameas stood slightly further away to the left.
“Lieutenant Commander Hurley, your report from the North?” Xavier said, prompting the meeting to begin.
Ameas stepped forward and pointed to a spot on the map.
“We’re still facing rather heavy resistance on our northern front, but I believe that if we deploy more troops and another supply shipment, we will be able to resecure the base there and resume regular operations in good time.”
“Very good, thank you. Captain Durham, how is the Crown Guard doing?”
“All areas of the royal court have been secured, sir,” Rubin replied, trying not to roll his eyes at Xavier’s forced professionalism, “Unless it somehow comes through the air, we should be impervious to attack.”
“Alright, thank you. Now,” Xavier said louder, straightening up a bit, “General Lu should be here any minute with the prison escort.”
As he spoke, General Ophelia Lu came through the wide chamber doors. The air in the room seemed to stiffen a little at her arrival, and even Xavier couldn’t help feeling a little tense as she passed by him to take her spot next to Ameas.
“Enter,” she called in an authoritative voice.
In walked three prison guards, their swords drawn. Behind them were another two, who were each holding an arm of the shackled prisoner between them.
The surrounding council didn’t know what to look at, but everything struck them as absolutely absurd; her braided fiery red hair, half-shaved head, synched waist, unrestrained chest, the tattoos around her eyes, the bright blue and red of her clothing- most everyone in the room had the same thought- barbaric.
What surprised everyone the most as they looked down at her, however, was not her clothes or tribal face paint, but the youth in her face. She couldn’t have been more than a teenager and was likely the smallest person in the chamber.
Ridiculous, Ophelia thought, she’s a child, yet she holds such a high position? Who would send their child to their death at such a young age?
“Step forward and humble yourself in the name of King Xavier,” she commanded.
When the prisoner refused, the guards pushed her up to the front of the room until she stood in front of Xavier. They forced her to her knees.
“Look at me,” Xavier said calmly, more of a request than an order.
The girl turned her head away.
“You impudent little-- hey!” Ophelia shouted, “My king told you to do something, now raise your head and-”
“Ophelia, it’s fine, that’s enough,” Xavier said.
The General stepped back.
“Now,” he addressed the prisoner before him, “is there anything you want to say?”
She remained silent.
“Do you...think they’ll come for you?”
She spat on the ground in front of his feet.
“Ha,” she scoffed, “you really think they’d risk that? We are at war if you hadn’t noticed. They’ve probably already brought in a new Stellari.”
The Thirians were taken aback as the girl spoke through a thick accent.
“That’s all you’re gettin’ out of me.”
“Look, I’m not going to hurt you and I don’t want to fight your people. If you lay down your weapons peacefully, I’m sure we can come to a diplomatic agreement and end this morass of war.”
The prisoner’s eyes widened.
“How dare you!” she shouted angrily, “How dare you say that to me?! It was your people who started this all! And you want us to sit and do nothing while the wealthy of your kingdom decide our fate? Ha! It is just as my chief told me. Only Thirians are dishonorable enough to ask us to lay down our weapons and surrender like cowards.”
“I think we’ve heard enough out of this one,” Ophelia said sternly, cutting Xavier off, “Bring her to the dungeon at once.”
The escorts nodded and grabbed the prisoner’s arms, yanking her to her feet. The door slammed shut with a resounding boom as they took the girl from the chamber.
An awkward silence filled the air.
“I...I call this meeting to a close,” Xavier declared, “General Lu will reconvene with the council to decide the prisoner’s sentence.”
The ministers shuffled out of the chamber, Xavier, Rubin, Ameas, and Ophelia following last.
“Did you see how young she was?”
“Yet she spoke so boldly!”
“How does she hold such a high rank? She must be very skilled.”
As his friends talked Xavier spaced out on the spot the prisoner had been led away from.
“Xavier,” Ameas said, “You in there?”
“Hey, you good man? You seemed kinda out of it that whole time.
“Yes, I did notice during the meeting that you seemed a bit off,” Ophelia concurred, “are you alright?”
“Y-yeah I’m alright. What she said...I guess it’s just got me a little shaken up.”
“What do you mean?”
“About how we started the war. We started all this suffering. We can’t rightfully ask them to surrender to us. Maybe I should go down and talk to her. She could offer a new perspective.”
“‘Perspective’?” Ophelia said, “The only perspective she’ll be able to offer is that of a cold-blooded killer. Her people are uncivilized. They rush into battle without a thought and destroy everything in sight. I mean, didn’t you see her clothing? What was that stiff fabric? And can’t she at least bind her chest or something? Honestly, I’m surprised someone like her even speaks Thirian.”
“Look, I get what you’re saying and that they’re different from us, but maybe she can shed some light on a couple of things for me. I need to talk to her.”
“Fine. Just be careful. Don’t let her talk you into anything, okay? And make sure there are guards nearby the entire time.”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ve got it, Ophelia, don’t worry. When Dominick gets here just tell him to wait for me in my room.”
Xavier headed off towards the prison. Maybe Ophelia was right, maybe she would just turn out to be a ruthless killer. But maybe she wouldn’t.
And he had to know.
He had to know why they were even fighting this war at all.