The Heart of a Lion

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Chapter 2

Vyron sighed as he strapped his last bag down onto his horse. He was so happy that he was finally getting out of Lorn. He disliked being so close to Decura's borders. The dark, barren Kingdom held very little life in it, its people struggling to survive under the hardships of their tyrannical ruler, King Lerren. The dark King was mad with power, his only love being wealth and riches, forcing his people to work endless hours in the mines in the mountains that lined the Kingdom's borders. But Decura had not always been such a dark and dreaded place. Its previous King, King Azzac, was a fair and just ruler, with a daughter that was as fair and kind as her father. But then tragedy stuck. The King fell ill and in his delirium married his daughter to Lerren, the son of the Duke of Treyden, a large town close to Decura's capital, Curda. Lerren had pretended to love the young Princess, but as soon as the King died, he began to show his true colours. The land became dark and void of happiness. The King locked his Queen away, never to be seen again. Some claimed that he had murdered her, others said that she was held prisoner in the Tall Tower and that if you listened closely at night that you could hear her mournful singing floating on the air.

Poor Queen Helena, Vyron sighed, looking off at the dark mountains of Decura.

"So they finally decided to kick you out, eh Lion?" a voice sneered behind him.

"Don't you have anything better to be doing, Evan?" Vyron sighed as he turned around to face his former friend. His dark red hair fell in messy curls that slightly bounced when he shook his head. His bright hazel eyes held a look of disgust as they looked down upon Vyron, his mouth curled into a sneer. His stubby nose had a slight kink in it and Vyron smiled as he realized that he may have broken it in their last fight.

"What are you so happy about, street rat?" Evan demanded.

"I finally get to get away from you," Vyron smirked. "And no, I'm not getting kicked out. I'm getting promoted. I get to go to the Palace, while you're stuck here, running training drills and scooping horse crap."

"You're lying," Evan snapped. "There's no way that you would get promoted before me."

"You're right," Vyron admitted. "I'm not getting promoted... Yet. But I'm sure that once the Queen sees me in action that I will be because yes, I am going to the Palace."

"You know what they do to liars, don't you?" Evan smirked, beckoning some of his friends over. "They get taught a lesson." He cracked his knuckles, trying to act intimidating, but Vyron just laughed.

"And here I'd thought that you had learned your lesson," Vyron replied, readying himself for a fight. "Which bone do you want me to break this time?"

"Apparently the Lion can't count," Evan laughed to his friends. "There are four of us and only one of you."

"And yet you still have the disadvantage!" Vyron exclaimed. "Maybe you should go get some more of your friends and try to make this... Somewhat even." He grinned as Evan's face flushed with anger.

That's right, Vyron thought. Get angry. When you get angry you get sloppy. The four boys began to advance on him, making Vyron take a slight step back so that his back was close to his horse. That way they would not be able to get behind him and catch him by surprise. He put up his fists, readying himself for the first blow.

"WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?" Ironfist's voice thundered across the yard. The boys stumbled back away from Vyron.

"Nothing, Sir," Evan said smoothly, though his fists at his side were shaking. "We were just saying goodbye to Lion, I mean, Vyron." Ironfist glared at them, his eyes scrutinizing, but he finally dismissed them with a jerk of his thumb.

"All Knights and Squires are to report to the Mess Hall immediately," he announced. "But not you, Vyron. Your fleet is waiting for you by the front gate."

"Yes, Sir," Vyron slightly bowed his head to him in respect before swinging himself up into the saddle.

"Oh, and Vyron?" Ironfist called his attention back to him as he walked over to him. "Please give this to Her Majesty for me." He handed a sealed envelope to him. "Sir Harold can be a little... Forgetful at times. I had originally given this to him, but he left it in my office. I think it may be best if you were to carry it."

"Of course, Sir," Vyron said, accepting the envelope. "It would be an honour."

"Very good," Ironfist nodded. "Now, away with you! Your fleet is waiting."

Vyron nodded, turning his horse towards the direction of the front gate.

"Safe travels, Lion!" a couple voices called out as he passed by. As he neared the front gate he could see half a dozen mounted Knights waiting impatiently, a seventh Knight standing beside his grey horse at the front of the group.

"Ah, our wandering Lion has returned to us at last!" the man declared as he noticed Vyron.

"I'm sorry I'm late, Sir Harold," Vyron apologized. "Sir Fredrick wanted to speak to me before we left."

"Very well," Sir Harold sighed, stiffly climbing into his saddle. He was not as smooth as his younger charges when it came to mounting his horse, but he had the wisdom and experience to lead them. Vyron nodded to his fellow Knights as he took his position on the far right-hand side.

The gates before them opened suddenly and within a blink of an eye, their horses were storming through the gateway, eager to start their journey.

Vyron smiled with joy as the wind whipped through his hair and he could just imagine what the townsfolk were thinking as he passed by, hair flying out wildly behind him.

"There goes the Lion!"

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