When they entered the open area in the woods, both women took a few steps away from one another before bowing respectfully. Timena couldn't lie, she was nervous; Clara could have a multitude of tricks up her sleeve. She spared no time, advancing first and bringing her blade across as Timena just narrowly deflected it. They now circled one another, Clara always the first to strike so that Timena could gauge her weak points. The girl's movements were sly and loosely strategic, Clara needn't think about what her next move would be, her body just went along easily, almost gracefully. Timena had found a very worthy adversary to the point where she was concerned that she may be defeated.
Instead of going to her, Clara was content on charging towards her and Timena blocked her each time the sword came down like a heavy mallet. The blades clanged against one another constantly and the vibrations could be felt at the hilt each time. Clara moved back then, twirling the sword again as if it were some toy before holding the hilt of it by her ear. She lunged forward once more and Timena faded and felt herself bending backwards to block yet another one of Clara's attempts. As she got back up, she looked up in astonishment.
"You didn't think I would be that good Sadon?" Clara smirked.
No, I did not.
Seeing an opening, Timena walked over in her direction and they continued their battle. The girls went around in circles as they sparred, Clara just nearly avoiding a tree behind her. Finally, Timena managed to fully spin around and bring her sword down onto Clara's before elbowing her in the chest so suddenly, she easily knocked the sword from her hand afterwards, disarming her.
They both looked to Makar's sword lying on the ground, and Clara's eyes narrowed in Timena's direction.
"Real class act Sadon, that hurt." Clara massaged her breast that Timena had so roughly elbowed.
She knew it was unusually cruel, but she did what she'd had to. She couldn't bear to lose to Clara.
"I could have used my witchcraft on you, but I fought fair." Clara muttered sadly as they walked back in the direction of the cottage.
A stream was approaching ahead as King Vassar, Silas and the rest of their men traveled alongside them. Norman grew tense as he saw they were getting closer, he just needed to get to Makar to warn him, it wouldn't be much longer now. They all began to cross the stream steadily before climbing up the embankment. Norman knew Timena was safe for now, no one was aware of any homes that weren't in Vitabesk or very close to it, he'd made sure of it those many years ago.
"Keep moving, we do not have all day." Silas yelled as they all continued on the trail.
After crossing the stream, the path was very straight forward. The tattered sign reading Vitabesk was only a short distance away.
When they finally made their way down the stony trail into the city, the faces of the local people changed abruptly. Some appeared confused, while others went in the other direction to avoid them altogether. Silas looked down at every face as he sat atop his horse, he had a look of authority mixed in with anger which could make anyone want to hide. At the center of the small area, both he and King Vassar got off their horses.
"My fellow people of Vitabesk, we come in peace. We do not mean to disrupt or disturb your daily lives. We only seek one thing. My daughter, Princess Timena Mororcin."
Men, women and children looked around in confusion, not sure as to why the King had come all this way in search of someone who none of them had seen. Makar stepped out of his shop, quickly realizing what was happening before his eyes eventually met Norman's. Their mouths fell at the sight of one another and they shook their heads in understanding.
Makar began to retreat into his shop, but not before catching the attention of one of the guards. The large soldier yelled for him to come forward slowly, and Makar had no other choice but to follow his orders. Silas got off his horse before telling his men to spread out and comb through the city.
"Norman, what is happening? What are you all doing here?" Makar asked in a low voice.
"Now is not the time brother, we need to warn Timena." He replied.
Norman felt guilty at the moment and couldn't bring himself to tell his dear friend about it. Makar was pulled away by the guard as he took him to his shop and Norman was left to figure out how to escape without being noticed.
"Is she here Norman?" King Vassar placed a hand to his shoulder as the guards searched around.
"She may be here or she may have already left." He shrugged the king's hand off before walking away.
Tightly gripping his lower arm, Vassar pulled Norman towards him forcefully. "Do not play coy with me Norman, need I remind you of what's at stake or have you forgotten?"
Norman sighed. "I am not certain as to where she is, this would be the most obvious possibility considering she must have continued on foot." He lied easily.
With a loud huff Vassar released him before walking away rather abruptly.
"You only did that for you knew I would have beat you." Clara said pointedly as they walked.
Timena laughed, knowing that it had been true. "Yes, and I would do it again." She admitted.
"I will not allow it next time around. Ooh let us go into Vitabesk, we could buy some ale and the best cherry fritters in all of Mororcin." Clara suggested.
"I-I'm not certain if that's a good idea. Perhaps you've forgotten, I am supposed to be in hiding." Timena replied sarcastically.
"It will be fine, Makar is always busy inside his shop, we'll buy our ale and fritters and be gone faster than you can say elbowing a person's breast is unacceptable while sword fighting."
She stared at Clara for a short while before laughing.
Leading the way through the forest easily as Timena walked closely behind Clara, her sword in tight grip. Upon arriving, they stood at the edge of the city behind the cover of trees. Clara was the first to walk out and make her way into Vitabesk, Timena eventually followed suit.
Why is it so quiet? I don't remember it ever being this quiet in Vitabesk. Timena wondered, she was beginning to feel uneasy. Inching closer, they both moved to peer their heads out from behind a small shop. The people of Vitabesk stood quietly, some seemed confused and others fearful but Timena could not see anything else. Crouching down and crawling to a few nearby sacks that sat on the ground, she was finally able to see properly— her father pacing back and forth as most of the guards followed his movements with their eyes. A sinking feeling enveloped Timena immediately, the realization of seeing her father in the center of Vitabesk was unexpected to say the least.
"Is that... let us go Sadon. Now." Clara whispered sternly.
Timena sank back to the ground, breathing heavily before eventually getting back down on her elbows to crawl over to where Clara stood. At the same moment two meager women came running through the alleyways before stopping completely, it did not take them long to realize exactly who they had run into. Before a sound could escape either of the women's mouths, they were completely silenced, they appeared almost frozen. Looking back over to Clara, Timena was frightened to see a pair of eyes that were now completely black.
"You two there." One of the guard's voices grew closer as they caught sight of the two motionless women. Taking hold of Timena's arm, Clara led them back into the forest in hopes of not being noticed by the men.
"We have to get to the stable." Clara's voice sounded muffled as they ran through the woods swiftly.
The guards could have spotted something running into the forest and there was no doubt that an army might have already begun trailing not too far behind them.
"We should have stayed put, I shouldn't have listened to you." Timena muttered angrily.
"I am sorry, I didn't know." Clara apologized through heavy breaths.
It wasn't long before they reached the stable. Onyx and Tinsen both stood silently staring at the girls before going back to eating their hay, Clara and Timena brought them outside by their reins.
Fuck. Timena hissed. "I need to go back to the cottage; the map is there and I need it to get to another safe spot. Fuck."
"Let us go now, we should be fine, we just need to move fast." Clara assured her and with that the horses took off in the direction of the cottage.
It appeared quiet when they arrived. Checking their surroundings, Timena couldn't find anything out of the ordinary and she felt relieved but slightly on edge. She easily hopped off Onyx's back, pulling out a set of keys from her pocket, instinctively gripping her sword tightly. Opening the door slowly, it creaked loudly— and like a nightmare that had once again become reality, the thing that she was most frightened of at this very moment in time stood before her, with a devilish smirk on his lips.
"My princess, you're a difficult one to find." Satisfaction radiated in his voice.
Everything seemed to move in slow motion as Timena turned to escape. Running back outside, she realized that Clara and the horses were nowhere to be found, she had disappeared. Guards began to pour in one by one, she was trapped. Panicking inside, she did the only thing she could think of to defend herself, pulling out her blade, she held it up to whoever would come near.
King Vassar stepped out of the small cottage along with Silas, Miro and Norman. Her eyebrows bunched up in confusion.
"Surrender Timena, it's over." Her father said gently. She felt betrayal now and it fueled her anger.
"Listen to your father, my princess." Silas added.
"Go fuck yourself." Timena spat out, he chuckled. His men began to slowly approach her, and she held her sword out in defense. They immediately halted at King Silas' silent demand.
"Darling please." King Vassar pleaded with her, but she paid him no mind. She continued to hold her sword up at him. He shook his head in dismay before backing away from her. Norman couldn't even look at her and she wondered exactly why until the guards began to move in again.
The first two men came in her direction and as they reached a close distance, Timena jumped up kicking one in the chest before landing on her side and using her foot to sweep the second guard's feet from off the ground and they fell instantly. She spun around landing on both feet before standing up, bringing her sword up once more to face her next opponent.
"Amazing." Silas said in awe before laughing. "Fight me."
"If you can defeat me, you can leave." She glared at him for his challenging words, as if she would believe him.
Do you have any other options?! She sighed.
Silas pulled out a shiny, steel sword with a gold encrusted handle. Timena could admit it was beautiful craftsmanship, but it had nothing on Makar's work.
They held their swords up and suddenly she found herself charging at him. Before her blade could even touch his armor, it had clashed into his sword. Looking up at him, she could see him smirking. Timena pushed against his body, taking a few steps backwards. That was unlike her she thought, she was never the first to charge at an opponent and she didn't know what had come over her. Silas laughed, seemingly amused at her first attempt which made her angrier.
Assess you fool. She needed to pinpoint his weaknesses.
Waiting for Silas to make the first move was pointless, he wouldn't strike first. He was probably accustomed to assessing his opponent's movements as well. Timena found herself advancing again and he faded, lunging forward over and over, Silas blocked her attempts each time. He wouldn't fight back, it was beginning to frustrate her, she was getting nowhere with this.
Retreating now, Timena looked for more unconventional methods. She moved forward quickly, darting her sword out continuously and opting for a kick behind the knee. Silas' right leg faltered but he promptly composed himself.
"Alright my princess, if that's how you want to fight." His expression grew sinister as he moved towards her slowly.
Silas swung his blade around and down before it crashed onto Timena's, just above her head. Her foot launched itself against his chest, pushing him backwards. She slung the weapon at him, each time clanging against his own. She felt rage now as he narrowly missed swiping her and it became a game of steel against steel until Timena grew weary of not getting anywhere in this fight. With all the strength she could muster, she threw a punch where she saw an opening, but he caught her small fist in his large palm. Shit.
Silas immediately pushed her, hard and she fell to the ground and tried to inch away to where her sword had landed a few feet away. He yanked her by her feet in his direction before picking her up and putting her over his shoulder.
"Get the fuck off of me." She tried squirming away from him but he had a death grip on her, no matter how much she wiggled around. As he walked her back to his soldiers, he gently placed her on the ground before capturing her upper body with his large arm. He held on closely, never enough to hurt her but enough so that she couldn't escape. Eventually she felt ropes being tied around her wrists and ankles, and tightly at that.
As if she were as light as a feather, Silas lifted and placed her onto his black horse before getting on right after. His arms encircled her as he took hold of the reins.
"You were never going to let me go even if I'd won." She said knowingly.
A look of sincerity played on his facial expression. "I won't ever let you go." He declared.