Path of the Forgotten

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Summary

During a night of celebrations that had turned into an all-out bloodshed, Skylar Brightlance, the only daughter to the Brightlance heir, finds herself caught in the onslaught. Thus, in order to survive, Tristana Crowngrave, whom Skylar thought was only the king’s advisor, pushed the princess to dive into the uncharted life of an assassin as she revealed her true identity to her. Void of anger and fear after an arrow pierced a part of her brains, Skylar traverses the dangerous world of death dealers. Her new journey leads her into meeting new friends... And foes alike. And the more she familiarises herself with her new life, the more she realises that not everything truly is as it seems. The masks that people's true faces hide behind is the catalyst behind her beaten quest. A quest to unravel new truths in a living that was forced upon her and to quench the searing fires of vengeance that burn within her. Blood will be spilled, shields will be broken and crowns will be molten.

Genre:
Action / Fantasy
Author:
Angry Tomato
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
12
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
18+

Pilot

“Please!! Have mercy!! I’m but an ordinary man, skilled with a weapon or two, who only followed an order to feed my family!!”

Innocent or not, I was told to eviscerate everything in my path. So, with his kneeling down, praying to his gods that I spare his life, I instead twirled my spear around, his reflection unfolding upon my bloodied blade, gazing back to him with a pitiful look.

This is for a price none should have to pay, a life none should have to endure. I slit his throat.

And with my weapon, soaked in blood from the sanguine geyser that became of his neck, I retreated, leaving a carved path of slaughter behind.

My mission was complete.

My target was dead.

No witness left behind.

However, it wasn’t always this way. My name is Skylar Brightlance, heir to the Brightlance throne…or what’s left of it.

My life wasn’t always that of a cold murderer. It was far calmer, far tranquil. I only became like this, on an uneventful night of celebrations that had turned into an all-out bloodshed. That night, I left everything behind me to burn along with my home, including my own name.

And I remember everything as if it was yesterday…

I was standing in front of my mirror with a wooden hair brush in my hand. I traced my then long straight wine hair, tidying it up after a long day. Exuberantly, I jumped out of my chair and zoomed to the wardrobe, which I opened with a massive grin on my face. My upturned ocean eyes, as mother would best describe them, were glittering with wonder as my gaze flitted upon a fiery red royal garment.

It was a long dress, made out of the finest and most exotic fabrics gold can possibly find, with a bright ruby in the middle of the chest area. I donned it and spun around in front of the mirror. One that reflected the soul that I still had.

Pleased with what I saw, I exited my chamber, skipping all the way to the main corridors.

Images of dragons and wyrms were carved on the walls, symbolising the strength of the kingdom which was tested on numerous occasions in times of war.

It still stood strong as ever, mostly due to the sharp wits of my father’s strategist and advisor, whom I accidently bumped into as I was cavorting and singing.

She was a lanky woman in her late forties. Her hair, black as a raven, was cut like that of a pixie. Her raspy voice was always distinguishable.

“Your grace” she said to me as she bobbed a curtsy.

“Your grace? Oh, just shut it with the titles. Tonight, we celebrate like wild commoners, Tris!!” I replied, like the dumbwit that I was. The king’s advisor was always cold to the core. Never even cracking a smile. The why was something I later found out.

“Even if it is a party, your highness, you must act as if this kingdom is your own. Professionalism is key to your rise” Tris directly added. “After all, one day, you’ll be ruling your own empire.”

Back then I was too carefree to realise that most things she said bore some truths within them. Instead, I just thought she was just another one of these rich royalists that wanted their own land and indulged in my parent’s presence for their own sake.

Where the king and queen were, gold and fame were not too far behind. Something that I should’ve noticed from the start.

After a quick back and forth between the advisor and I, we took off to the ballroom. Near dusk, guests started to arrive. At that moment, I felt that Tristana was feeling uneasy. I thought she was just stressed, but it was much more than this. She knew what was going down…or what was going to go down.

Neoclauvius Brightlance! My uncle, had arrived to the party. It wasn’t unusual, but he was clad in his turquoise armour.

With him, like dogs on the golden leash he tugged, are the Bastard’s Legion, which is the name of his infamous, brutal and barbaric army. The tyrant had a rightful claim to the throne. He was my father’s brother after all. He knew that dad wouldn’t just give him the crown. But the swine had no sense of honour. Either dad gives him the throne, or a slaughter ensues.

Father? He was as greedy as his brother.

“I would rather chew on my own sword than to give you my castle, Neoclauvius” my father was careful to mention, his tone elevated.

By being told this, the armoured man ordered his soldiers to attack.

My heart was pumping as fast as the swords were swinging. I couldn’t breathe properly. All I’m hearing are the muffled sounds of people falling to their deaths and soldiers butchering innocent lives in mere seconds at the sound of steel meeting flesh.

My vision became blurry, for tears clouded my eyes. My mother, across the room, ran through the chaos to pull me out of this madness while my father was getting thrown into the ground by his brother and impaled. I cried my heart out as I was getting dragged by my mother into safety.

We were then faced with two armed men. They raised their weapons, but luckily, Tristana had come to our aid. She blocked the first attack with a shield she had stolen from a downed soldier, while kicking the other man in the knee, breaking his left kneecap.

Tris was able to disarm the first as the steel of the blade meets that of the shield, staggering him. She grabbed his sword and punctured him through the eye-sockets of his helmet. My mother, unfortunately, had her neck pierced through by an arrow from the entrance of the ballroom.

Tristana yanked my wailing self out of the room and into a secret opening from around the throne. My arm extending to reach my dying parents who were puking blood as I’m screaming at the annihilation that is unfolding before me.

In the alleyway of the secret passage, we were met with two other foot soldiers of the Bastard’s Legion. I guess it wasn’t as secret anymore.

Tristana pushed me back as she ducked under the first slash, meeting her shield with the other man’s blade before shoving him into the narrow walls. She then slapped her knee and blades sprung out of her leather boot as she kicked the first soldier in an exposed area of his neck, slashing through his throat.

The other one, still recovering from that powerful shove, had his head grabbed by the king’s advisor and snapped backwards…killing him instantly.

I crawled back, afraid of what Tristana was capable of.

She reached her arm to me, but I covered my face with mine, pleading her not to kill me. She rolled her eyes, grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me upwards. I can still remember what she told me that day.

“All your life you were treated as a royal subject, a princess. After tonight, you’ll just be a common criminal, another wanted woman for crimes that you didn’t even commit” she proclaimed calmly now that the current threat was dealt with. “The sins of your father and mother now are yours to bear and I must take you somewhere safe!”

I still denied the skeleton holding the red ledger in my parent’s closet. But I learned quickly that denying reality will make you loosen your grasp upon it.

“Mommy!! Daddy!!” I cried out in anguish, being pulled by Tris.

“I understand your loss” looking me in my tearful eyes. “It is hard to lose loved ones. Especially those that raised you. But you’re gonna have to trust me. You want to avenge them, right?”

She let me go, no longer dragging me forcefully.

“This is where your path diverges. You either go back and either get slaughtered, raped and be made the queen of Neoclauvius…or you go with me and build a new life for yourself.”

She forms a fist with her hand, clenching it tightly.

“Under my watch, not a strain of your hair will be harmed, your grace. Focus, calm yourself, breathe in and out. Panicking will only make things worse…”

I couldn’t even let her continue before howling again in sorrow.

But she had no choice. She picked me up, placed me on her shoulders and ran towards the exit of the passageway. There, we were able to get to the stables. But on our way there, my loud lamenting exposed our presence.

And arrows began raining. Somehow, someway, Tris was able to dodge most of them, until a stray pierced my eye.

With a frustrating groan, Trist ran to the stables, picked a horse, placed me to the front and rode while dodging these arrows as best she could.

The arrow that cracked my skull, would be the one that instilled inside me a ruthlessness so cold, that it became the chilling bane of that who fired it. I was passed out but somehow still alive. With Tris riding the horse at full speed, we escaped harm’s way and arrived at a cave. She entered it without second thoughts, still holding me in her arms. That cave was a hideout for a group of rogues as vicious as Tris.

They were known as the Invisible Hand as I came to learn later.

Tristana placed me on a soft surface and had someone examine me.

To say that I was lucky to survive would be a painful understatement. It was nothing short of a miracle, for the arrow that punctured my eye was also able to reach parts of my brains. Thus, the surgeon was forced to remove snippets of it, including parts of the amygdala, the one responsible for the perception of some emotions.

It’s fair to say that Tristana’s obsession with keeping me alive wasn’t well received among her peers at The Invisible Hand. But what harm can come to them? It was much more complicated. Gaining their trust was easier said than done to say the least. But after that day, I knew that the only way to survive is to become someone entirely else.

I had to learn their ways, I had to become one of them and gain their trust so that they could see me as such.

Void of emotions, I thought I can easily learn what they know. But it was harder than I thought.

There was more to the Invisible Hand than what meets the eye. They’re not a typical group of assassins. They are what their name implies, the invisible hand that keeps the world turning.

As I woke up, I saw Tristana smirking, her monolid hazel eyes glancing at me.

“I owe you an explanation” she whispered softly. “Come with me.”

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