"Are there any traces of her?" Silas conferred with Miro, who shook his head defeatedly.
"We'll keep searching the forest and then make our way to Vitabesk, she couldn't have gone too far Silas." With those parting words, Miro walked away combing his fingers through the darks strands of his hair in frustration.
Reaching King Vassar, they stared at one another momentarily.
"If Silas does not find her Vassar, believe me he won't react too kindly in the end. I don't wish to see any misfortune befall you or your people, so please." Miro warned him before stalking off.
Vassar had a decision to make, his people would suffer greatly without the help of King Silas. He could feel the shame wash over him, he had managed to run his country into further financial despair because of his past generations' mistakes. His wife Adelia, wasn't even aware of the economic trouble they had been in and it was not until Silas offered assistance that Vassar had felt some sense of hope, but it was at a price. His daughter.
He couldn't forgive himself and he knew Timena wouldn't either, but he needed to ensure his island's survival, and it would also continue to ensure his family's as well. Making his way over to Norman who was standing quietly, Vassar looked into his eyes before pulling the piece of paper from his pocket and showing it to him.
"You need to tell me if you know where she is Norman." Vassar warned, but nothing in Norman's expression had changed.
"I wish I knew, but I haven't a clue." He replied, coyly.
Vassar sighed and his face grew hard. "Either you tell me something now or Silas will deal with you, and I can't imagine you wanting anything bad to happen to Eurina and Enoch." He threatened.
A flicker of fear in his eyes at the thought of his family's safety being compromised made Norman think twice about what his next few words would be.
"Norman..." Vassar pleaded, and he sighed.
"So, what else can you do? Can you, make my eyebrows disappear or, turn me into an animal?" Timena joked.
Looking over to her, Clara glared. "I am not some sort of magician, but since you mentioned it. Yes, I could."
Roaming further away from the cottage, Timena led the horses through the forest by their reins. She still couldn't properly comprehend what she had seen Clara do and the information she had learned, but now she questioned the childhood stories she had heard, which of them held some truth?
After Tinsen and Onyx trotted around the open area for some time, they were led to a small pond where they calmly bent their heads down to drink water. As peaceful as all of it seemed, Timena stayed vigilant just to be safe.
"We're safe, don't worry." Clara assured before sauntering over to sit on a rock by the edge of the pond.
"Can you read thoughts?" Timena blurted out suddenly.
Clara chuckled in response. "No, but body language isn't so hard to read. So, what are you running from?" She quickly diverted.
Sighing aloud, Timena rolled her eyes. "Why so curious?"
"I love to pry into the lives of those around me, what can I say." She shrugged, and they both laughed.
Not knowing whether it was a smart move to discuss her current predicament with her, Timena began to think. She had not known this person very long, and there was the unsettling information she had learned about her only moments ago.
"I am, trying to avoid marrying a king." She responded simply.
Clara's brows knit in confusion. "Is that not what every woman dreams of, a king asking for their hand in marriage?"
"My dreams consist of swords, bows and arrows, sparring mainly. I am... interested in duelling with my fellow companion here." Timena patted the scabbard that her blade was safely tucked away in.
"Can you not have both? Or do you only desire the one?" Clara queried.
Timena hadn't given marriage and love much thought, she did not necessarily oppose it, but she enjoyed the independence she had. The responsibilities that would rest on her shoulders weren't something she envied— the freedom she had, from the armor she wore to her use of weapons, it was all considered a privilege for her. She was grateful to have the father she had, how he had encouraged her and trained her, it had fuelled her desire for independence. Her mother was never fond of the idea of her handling large weapons, she had always said they were for men but since she had Delacroix, she never discussed the subject any further.
"Maybe it's always been the way my mother described marriage and being a queen to my sister and me when we were children. She made it seem as though that's all a woman could and should ever want. My father made sure I knew there was more to life than that." Timena explained.
"Your father seems like a decent man. Maybe you should have, possibly given this oh so powerful king the benefit of the doubt, he might've surprised you." Clara suggested as she flung a stone into the water, skipping a few times before sinking under.
"He definitely isn't the type of person I'd give the benefit of the doubt." She shook her head at the thought and let out a dry laugh.
"Well who is he?"
Timena hesitated before saying his name. "Silas Stokrev."
There was a pause in the air as Clara's expression changes. "Oh, I can see how you might be hesitant to give him the benefit of the doubt now."
When they got back to the stable, Timena led the large animals back inside before closing a gate behind her. It had been an eventful morning for her, and she certainly missed her home deeply but was adamant on continuing her journey if it meant keeping her freedom.
On their way back Clara had discussed the atrocities she had seen at the hands of Silas' father, King Jarvis. Timena had been aware of the stories she'd heard about him through the castle walls, but she was even more disturbed at hearing Clara go in depth about the things she'd witnessed him do and say.
"I've passed through Calyx many times before over the years, and I remember Jarvis. I first met him when he was just a young boy, merely sixteen or seventeen I believe. He wasn't as evil back then as he would later become but he was a troublesome boy, he took great pleasure in being mischievous. In the beginning, my only encounters with him were watching him steal things from the markets that he could've easily bought. But no one dared mention it to his father, King Danic, he would have had their head on a platter most likely." Clara paused, as if in deep thought.
"I left a few months later, and I didn't return till a few years had passed, only to find out that his father had died, and he had become king. He seemed angrier and he took that anger out on his own people. He was selfish and wicked, nearly starving everyone in his city and torturing some for his own pleasure, but his abuse was put to a halt when he met a young girl. She was aware of the man's capabilities, but his beauty was alluring, and his interest in her left her in a daze. So naturally— she couldn't help herself and she fell prey to this evil man. Jarvis spent much of his time with her, very sweet with his words and gentle with her. The naive girl thought he might be changing in front of her very eyes and she realized she was falling in love with this king." Clara stopped once more, looking as though she might not want to finish the story.
"Are you alright?" Timena asked and Clara nodded in response before she continued.
"One night she invited him into her small home, it was at the edge of the city, so it was quite secluded. She had prepared to tell him she loved him and give herself to him in every way that night and as she uttered those three words, he laughed, a kind of devilish laugh. He changed entirely, into that evil king she had seen him be time and time again. He raped her that night and left her on her bedroom floor with her torn clothes just barely covering her most intimate parts." She spat out the last few words bruntly.
Timena looked to Clara, horrified at what she was hearing. "You witnessed this? Did you help her or, or-" Timena asked, angrily.
"I heard about what happened long after it had occurred and at that time, I did not have the powers I do now Sadon." Clara said sadly.
"Well, what happened to her? Did she exact her revenge?"
"She became pregnant with a baby boy, when she told Jarvis he was excited and like that, he changed." Clara snapped her fingers quickly. "The months she spent with him fooled her somewhat again and to make a very painful, and long story short, she gave birth to healthy boy and shortly after King Jarvis' men snatched her from her bed in midst of the night and sent her away to an island far away from them."
Silas. Timena thought.
Timena was in disbelief at what she'd heard, so full of rage for this girl she had never met. "What happened to her? Does Silas know?"
"That was the last anyone had ever heard from her, and Silas does not know. That old bastard most likely told him some preposterous story." Clara replied dryly as they continued walking.
Timena's head felt like it was about to explode and then her thoughts drifted to Aldus. "Wait, you said a baby boy... Does that mean that Silas and his brother don't share the same mother?"
Clara strode further along as Timena fell behind slightly with the reins in her hands. "Only one child was born on that night, I'm certain they don't share the same mother." She said, never looking back.
Timena could not escape the visualizations of Jarvis and that poor girl's horrid past. She was glad he was dead and now understood why her own father had tried to keep both him and Silas away from her as a child. She wondered if Silas was just like his father though, or if he'd managed to not follow in certain footsteps. She prayed she would never have to find out.
Norman hadn't had much of a choice, but to offer some information in exchange for his family's safety. He'd told King Vassar that they were not wrong about where Timena was heading, but he left out the part of where her exact location would be. He felt guilty for helping Silas and his men, but he couldn't risk his family. The piece of paper that the king had revealed to him had been a tattered, old drawing of him as a child, and his own shock at the paper had given Vassar a clue that he knew more than he was letting on. Norman only hoped that he would get a chance to warn either Makar or Timena herself to keep moving.
That night, Makar and Timena ate at the very same old, wooden table discussing any and every weapon he'd ever made. She continued to be astounded by his work and Makar enjoyed conversing with her.
"I've never met a young girl so fascinated with my work before... well, it reminds me of someone I used to know." Makar's face fell a bit.
"Who?" She asked, wondering if he was referring to his wife or child.
"I better be heading to bed now Tim Tam." He ignored her question and began to clear the table.
She wanted to pry a bit further, but Makar went straight to bed after putting the plates and mugs away, he seemed troubled. Timena huffed, deciding to go to bed as well, dimming the lamp on the table.
The next morning as usual, Makar was already gone, leaving Timena by herself. She got ready, bathing and dressing herself quickly before picking at leftover fish for her breakfast. The sound of the locks turning alerted her and she pulled her sword from its' sheath slowly. Makar wouldn't be back yet, maybe he forgot something? Each lock turned on its' own accord and Timena was left fearful of who was on the other side of that door. It opened gradually, creaking with each passing second before finally stopping. All was quiet and she finally moved to take small steps towards it, but when she peeked her head out, she saw that there was no one there until-
"Boo!" Clara appeared from behind a bush, startling Timena.
"Are you fucki-, you scared me Clara. You cannot do that." Timena said sternly, eventually relaxing.
"Sadon, I'm sorry. I couldn't help myself." She confessed through her fit of laughter. "Did you see your face?" She cackled.
Rolling her eyes, Timena walked back into the kitchen. Clara entered, looking around. "Do you want to have a sword fight with me?"
"You haven't got a sword Clara." She replied, annoyed.
The sound of a heavy blade being pulled out of a large trunk caught her attention. Looking up, she saw a shiny, long sword in the girl's grasp. It was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen, she got closer, examining the make of it, its' detailing and she knew Makar had to have made it.
"I'm inquisitive." Clara said in response to Timena's questioning gaze. Of course, she'd snooped around to know where Makar had hidden certain items.
"Let us spar."