Chapter 18 - Prepare For Battle!
With less than an hour until the sun was due to rise, the sky was still dark, though rimmed with a brightened glow as the sound of thunder rumbled off to the South.
It was going to be one hell of a morning!
As Lillian lay on the mattress in the tower, waiting for the inevitable visit from the dark sorceress Rayvinn as promised she could feel as the wind suddenly began to change.
It shifted direction entirely within an instant and an unsettling breeze began to blow across her skin, causing goosebumps to stir.
There was something familiar about it as if the breeze was somehow trying to communicate with her, though that sounded impossibly insane.
With a great sigh the captive Queen lay her head back down and closed her eyes, intending to drift off to sleep again in an effort to pass the time and escape from her current reality.
A sudden sound had alerted her as her emerald eyes suddenly opened wide upon hearing it.
It was the sound of horns being blown loudly throughout the castle; horns that would normally only signal one thing.
Prepare for battle.
She immediately felt her heart begin to race as the small slither of hope she had been grasping onto for so long started to grow larger and larger with each passing moment.
Then came the sound of a dragon’s cry, shattering the skies above.
The deeply bellowing shriek still sounded fairly distant but near enough to them that the creature would easily be seen from the castle’s watch by now.
Was it who she hoped it would be?
Had her Dragon King come to save her from her captors?
Her thoughts ceased immediately as the door to the tower was thrown open with a loud crash and several soldiers came marching inside, followed closely by King Rathman who carried something in his hand.
Lillian’s immediately panicked.
Her breathing began to quicken as she watched them marching across to where she lay on the bed.
Memories of what happened to her last night began to flood back and she feared a repeat of her brutal attack.
“Stay back!” she shouted angrily at them,
“Get away from me! I won’t allow you to touch me again you filthy son of a bitch!”
The King seemed serious as he came to stand over her.
He was wearing a full-length black suit with covering armour and a long brown cape which followed along behind him as he moved.
“Not that I wouldn’t mind fucking you again Lillian... I’m afraid we have more pressing matters at hand.” he spoke down at her.
Lifting something up in his hand he knelt down beside her on the bed and began positioning it around her neck.
“What are you-” she tried to pull away from him, but had nowhere else to go.
It was a thin golden ring about the circumference of her head with special carvings engraved into its surface, similar to those carved into her shackles.
“What is this?” Lillian demanded as he ‘clicked’ it into place around her neck.
“Just a precaution...”
Rathman gave her a fake smile as he then stood back up and turned to face one of his soldiers holding onto the large set of iron keys next to him.
“Remove her shackles and stand her up.”
The soldiers seemed to hesitate and look to one another.
“Hurry up! I gave you an order!” Rathman commanded angrily.
“But, my lord... what about her powers?” one asked.
“You bloody fool, what do you think this is for?” Rathman pointed to the golden ring around her neck.
He turned to Lillian and spoke with a taunting grin.
“Consider it a gift from the sorceress.”
Lillian simply glared back at him with disgusted hatred.
“Go to hell you coward.” she seethed.
The soldier used a large iron key to unlock each of the shackles binding her wrists one by one, allowing them to fall back onto the mattress of the bed as each of her four limbs were freed.
“Still as feisty as ever, even after such a long night.” he purposely teased, trying to get her to bite back.
Once both of her hands were unshackled Lillian sat up on the bed as they unlocked her ankles one by one.
Rathman continued to taunt his captive. He found the way she fought back to be exciting.
“Perhaps when this is all over we can go another round, hmm?”
He grinned devilishly as his men chuckled amongst themselves.
Lillian snapped, filled with unquenchable rage.
Lunging forwards she surprised the conceited King with a swing at his face, clocking him square in the jaw with her clenched fist.
The sound of her knuckles impacting with the side of his jaw made a loud ‘crunch’ sound as Rathman, who was now bent over from the force of it, held at his jaw with an expression of disbelief.
“You will NEVER touch me again, you vindictive bastard!”
Lillian shouted at him as the soldiers grabbed her by the arms and held her back from him.
Unsheathing a dagger from a sheath attached to his belt the King snarled as he stepped up toward Lillian and used his free hand to wipe the blood from his busted lip.
He licked his bloody lip as he looked down at her through narrowed eyes.
“No woman has ever dared to strike me before.” he spoke as he slowly lifted the sharpened blade of the dagger up toward her throat, resting the tip on her soft skin.
She did not flinch.
“If you want to live, I would highly suggest you don’t do that again.”
Lillian suddenly closed her eyes and cringed, making a ‘hissing’ sound as the tip of the dagger penetrated her skin.
It caused a small droplet of blood to trickle out of her tiny wound and run down her neck.
Now satisfied that he had made his point, for now, Rathman sheathed his dagger and barked his command as he turned and began marching for the doorway.
“Bring her with us.”
The soldiers immediately obeyed their King, dragging the Queen off of the mattress and along the floor after Rathman as they exited the tower and began to descend the spiralling staircase.
High up in the sky, about half a mile directly up from where Castle Shayde was, the Dragon King soared through the dark early morning sky with Drako.
Draxus was wisely scoping out anything he could from his high vantage point.
Activating one of his many dragon-like powers, his amber eyes glowed brightly as he used his enhanced vision to see what was going on below him, even in the darkness of night.
He spied many soldiers beginning to form lines of defence just behind the castle walls and could hear the faint sounds of the warning horns being sounded a great distance away.
A few large ballistas had been loaded along the main wall of the castle but Draxus wasn’t at all concerned about those.
Drako was much too fast.
By the way they were all acting down there he realised there was no question about it.
They had already sighted him.
But that wasn’t about to stop him.
This time the merciless Dragon King would live up to his terrifying title!
He would wipe them all out with a single swoop.
And he would make them pay for taking his wife from him...