Chapter 1 - Kidnapped
The once-thought secret tunnel leading out from the safety of Castle Krillian’s fortress-like structure was entirely pitch black inside, as only the light emanating from the flame torches showed the way ahead.
King Rathman and his soldiers marched their new captive, Queen Lillian along over the puddles of water and rocky ground below their feet. A soldier latched onto either of her arms tightly as she was forced to move along at a quickened pace in their attempt to escape from Castle Krillian.
Turning her head to glance back in the direction they had come from, Lillian wondered if anyone realised what had happened to her husband, King Draxus by now. She was deeply concerned and prayed that Draxus had been found, and that he would soon be coming to her rescue. But she couldn’t count on it. The poison from the dart he had been injected with could have been any number of poisons; it could even have been lethal! He may never again wake…
She pushed the thought of his possible demise from her mind as they continued along in the enveloping darkness surrounding the hidden tunnel.
“You haven’t won, you know…” Lillian snapped angrily, glaring at the King who was leading them ahead, “Don’t think for one second that this is over. Draxus will come for me.”
Rathman suddenly stopped and let out a big over-exaggerated sigh. He had been listening to her threats this entire time and his patience was beginning to wear dangerously thin.
“My god, do you ever shut up?” he whispered as if his words were intended for his ears alone.
Turning around he walked across to one of his soldiers and grabbed the edge of the soldier’s brown cloak which hung down behind his back. The soldier watched on with a raised brow as his King then proceeded to tear at the fabric until he had two long strips of brown fabric which he held in both hands as he stepped across to where Lillian was being held by two other soldiers.
Lillian continued to taunt her captor with her apparent harsh words as he approached her; not for one second showing any signs of fear.
“Draxus is probably already on his way here now. He’ll kill you all for what you’ve do- Mmmph!”
Her words suddenly silenced as Rathman forcefully shoved one of the now scrunched up pieces of fabric inside of her mouth, then proceeded to wrap the other longer one over her mouth to gag her, tying it in a tight knot behind her head. She glared defiantly back at him.
“There, that’s better.” Rathman teased with a satisfying smile, his hand giving her a gentle pat on her cheek.
“Mm-mph…” was all she could manage now.
“Come on, let’s get a move on.” Rathman commanded his men as he took the lead once more, “I hate to admit it, but she may be right!”
Meanwhile, by now the General and Zaar had located the unconscious King and accompanying soldiers on the floor in the basement of the castle. With no idea of what had happened and no signs of the Queen, they feared the worst as they crouched down either side of his lifeless body.
“I’ll check for a pulse.” General Shasharan announced with concern.
Shasharan looked down at his King who lay still on the floor with his helmet still positioned over his head.
“Get this thing off first…” Zaar worked to pull off the helmet, carefully sliding it up and over his unconscious King’s head.
The General then proceeded to feel Draxus’ neck for a pulse. There was a haunting silence for around ten seconds before Shasharan’s dark eyes lit up and he sighed loudly with a sense of relief.
“He’s alive, he’s still alive!” he reported eagerly.
“What the hell happened here?” Zaar asked, checking on the other two soldiers who also lay limp on the floor.
“I don’t know, but we need to try waking them, now!” Shasharan commanded.
As Shasharan spoke he quickly reached in under his cape and pulled out a small vile of green liquid, his fingers working to unscrew the lid.
Zaar caught a glimpse of what he was doing and spoke with a frown.
“What’s in the vile?” he asked.
“Just a little something for emergencies...” the General spoke as he carefully began to pour some in between his King’s parted lips, which were now pale and blue.
“Seriously, what’s in the vile?” Zaar seemed concerned, but Shasharan turned to him with a serious expression.
“Really? Can we talk about this later?”
With a nod Zaar reached out and took the vile from his General, who handed it carefully over for his companion to feed to the other two soldiers on the floor.
“Just a few drops Zaar, its powerful stuff.” Shasharan warned him.
Their attention suddenly focused on Draxus who let out a small groan as he began to move his body around. Slowly opening his amber eyes and looking around at the darkened surroundings he frowned upon seeing his General looming over him.
He seemed confused.
“What… what happened?” he asked, moving his hand up to meet his head as he struggled to manage the horrible feeling pulsing throughout his head.
“Thank the gods... we feared you were dead.” Zaar spoke with unease.
“Apparently not.” Draxus joked as he went to sit up.
“Slowly, master. Take it easy.” General Shasharan warned, grabbing him by both shoulders to support him to sit up properly on the cold stone floor.
“We believe you were attacked by the ones who breached the castle’s defences…” Shasharan explained, “Do you remember what happened, anything at all? How you got down here, perhaps?”
Draxus closed his eyes, trying to think for a moment as the other two soldiers began to stir in the background.
“My King, do you know where the Queen is?” Zaar questioned him from behind.
“Lillian’s missing?” Draxus spoke softly.
Then like a light switch, it all came flooding back to him and his amber eyes widened with serious concern. Rathman!
“Lillian…” the King announced with urgency, “He took her, that fucking bastard drugged us and took Lillian!”
“Who?” Shasharan asked.
“Who took her?” Zaar added.
“King Rathman Ortega… An old friend of mine.” the King explained sarcastically, “Come on, we need to move, now!”
He began to pull himself up to his feet, but his body was still weighed down by the effects of the drugs still swimming around in his system.
“Wait, stop, please. My lord you’re in no condition to go after her like this. You first need to rest yourself.”
But the General knew his King too well. There was no way that Draxus would listen to his advice now; not when his wife had been taken captive by the enemy!
“I’ll rest once I’ve found Lillian. Now help me up, both of you!” Draxus commanded angrily.
Zaar and Shasharan moved to aid their King, assisting him to stand up on his own two feet, though he was still wobbling slightly from side to side.
“Zaar, get as many men down here as you can find. I want the whole Kingdom put on full alert, that means no one gets in or out without my permission, understood?” he turned to Shasharan now, “General, you’re with me.”
With their assigned commands both men moved off in their different directions as the Dragon King and his General began to make their way down through the pitch black tunnels, in apparent pursuit of the enemy.