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Chapter 1

3 months later

The stories were rife. Zarcar was a sorcerer. Zarcar was a war general. Zarcar was leading the city while his current king travelled from his home land towards my conquered city, Swendula. Yet even so, after all I had heard about Zarcar, I could barely remember the man’s face.

It bothered me that this city, somehow, had been overrun in almost complete silence. Some deal was made. No deaths were necessary when the men bickered and decided to settle on some kind of important terms. Regardless, I was nervous and pacing, outside the war tower and outside my comfort zone.

For a priestess to leave her duty was to suggest she had important business elsewhere. Wearing my silver attire, straps of silk hang off my wrists and thighs and upper arms, hugging my breasts and covering my most private areas. My silver bracelets were clanging loudly as I paced by the roses of the war tower. Blood red and growing steadfast. Unfamiliar soldiers watch me wearily from afar, while my mind reels.

I had decided this morning to leave my tower and face Zarcar. I had no idea if he would remember me, but my patience had thinned. I could not ignore the commands at my door, suggesting that I vacate the area for more important members.

As for my residence, I had no idea where they expected me to go. 1 month notice had turned into mere days. With 3 days to go, I decided to confront Zarcar before I was forcefully removed from my tower on the last day. I had been waiting for the moon to tell me what to do, but no answer was satisfactory.

So, confrontation was my only option left. Eventually, I hear a pert voice.

“Enter now!” I look up to see a small man ushering me over to an open door way. I had been waiting up to an hour for this meeting. My chin is held high as I come forward, my bare feet sliding over smooth cobble stones, paved neatly side by side.

“Zarcar is busy and –”

“I am busy too,” I cut off the small squire and dismiss him, “I know where to go,” I move forward on my own accord, heading for the meeting room on the ground floor.

The big wooden doors are closed, but I don’t hesitate in using a swift call of the wind to push the doors open, fast and wide.

“Wait, miss!” the squire is too late.

I watch as a huge crowd of men and only some women, turn from a loud speech from Zarcar himself. I stand in the door way, my breathing uneven and frustrated as I finally lay eyes on Zarcar again. I am shocked. He looked completely different. Surely how I met him last was a disguise.

Now, Zarcar is cleanly shaven, his hair slicked back while a royal, black robe and hood outfit adorns his giant figure. A war cape. A thing of violence. He’s speech halts at my intrusion.

“I am done waiting,” I call out, knowing my authority, although not bound in royal blood, was bound in power, equal to that of the leading men of the land. I start to walk forward, expecting to get the attention all priestesses deserved.

Multiple things happen that I am not used to. Instead of gasps of delight at my presence, I hear scoffs and gasps of disgust coming from the crowd. I flinch from their distaste and pause, especially when I see Zarcar’s motion of a wrist. He doesn’t say a word. But I can’t stop what happens next.

My light approach and gentle feet are halted by strong, hard hands that grab both of my arms. Guards restrain me and the contact constricts my chest with anxiety. Priestesses were known to be fragile, you did not handle our bodies in such a rough manner – let alone think physical contact was acceptable, even in the slightest form!

“What do you think you’re doing?” I ask, shocked as I’m forcibly dragged out of the meeting room as quickly as possible.

“Wait your turn,” one soldier drawls simply before they both turn after shoving me out, retreating into the room and slamming the doors closed, right in my face.

I hear a lock turn, and while the red marks on my arms are still visible, my rare temper flares. A lock was not going to keep me from having my say.

“Please wait,” the squire approaches me but keeps his eyes downcast, “Please, Chyronex.”

“I will be heard,” my hand trembles as I raise it, closing my eyes, I feel for the lock midair. As if the mechanism fits into my hands, I bend my fingers and pull the right cogs.

As I open my eyes, I wave my hand to the side and watch as one of the doors starts to jut open. Smiling to myself at opening the wood with my magic, I’m about to approach when the doors are suddenly shoved open and the crowd of men and women exit in a rush. I stand back as higher ranking important members of Zarcar’s army, disappear past me within seconds.

When they are gone, I peep into the empty room, aside from the guards and Zarcar himself. He is waiting in the middle, waiting for me. He is already watching me... deceptively calm. I almost walk in, until my good senses overcome me. Danger awaited me in there. I change my mind on the spot. I would not speak to him after all this. Not while I was flustered. I had to calm down first.

Glaring into his smug eyes, I know I shock him as I abruptly turn and leave. I walk fast and sure, hoping to get back to my tower as soon as possible. My feet are swift and soft, gliding me out into the open air of the city as my energy pulses to my muscles. Without glancing over my shoulder, I know he will follow me.

Now, all I can hope for is that I am fast enough. So, I run back to my tower through the city. Knowing my ordeal is not over yet.

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