Life After Life

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Chapter 6 - Dorian

I sat in my room toying with the one of the quartz chess pieces mother had given me for my 20th birthday a month ago. I knocked over one of the pawns and yawned loudly.

“Isn’t there anything to do around here?” The guard that had been stationed in the room with me.

“Your highness what would you like to do?”

I looked him up and down.

“Have a fencing match with you.”

His blonde curls hung in his face as it turned red.

“I am not a worthy opponent for a prince, sir.”

He looked down at the floor just as a guard should, it had been days since Princess Everose’s ball and I was growing weary since I was getting nowhere with the Princess. I still was in a foul mood from my father earlier, he was angry at me that I wasn’t trying hard enough with the Princess. I stood up quickly shaking the thoughts from my head.

“Let’s go Axel.”

We headed down the hallway, I allowed the guard to lead since I had no idea where we were going.

We arrived in a room, the walls were white and swords every shape and size hung from the wall. I shrugged my jacket off and took off my dress shirt, so I was in just a white undershirt and my black britches. I whistled low and strolled up to a long skinny sword, I weighed it in my hands. I glanced at Axel and nodded my head towards the swords.

“Let’s go, choose your weapon.”

He hesitated a moment longer before finally sighing and picking up a much heavier looking sword.

I smirked thinking to myself that I always get what I want, my older brother flashed in my mind followed closely by my Father, but they quickly left as I got into my stance. Axel assumed his position and looked to me.

“I will go easy on you Prince Dorian, I would never want to harm you.” I snorted in response.

“But now you’ve harmed my confidence!”

Axel stopped for a moment looking genuinely torn and unsure of what to do I lunged and told him.

“You need to hide your emotions more. You’re a guard, you’re supposed to be untouchable.”

I nicked his sleeve, though I didn’t draw any blood his jacket was now slit. He slid it off his shoulders and threw it to the side. He shoved his hair back from his face, determination setting in. I swung as hard as I could not holding anything back. We did this dance for a while, our blows always equally matched. I would thrust my arm out and his sword would slide along my blade almost disarming me, before I spun around attacking from the other side.

Suddenly standing in front of me was no longer the guard Axel, but my older brother. His pale blue eyes and radiant smile taking over where Axel stood.

“Little brother, I will not hurt you.” I grunted and swung harder, Axel dodged the blow dipped low and rammed his shoulder into my stomach. He knocked me on my back, I laid there for a moment allowing air back into my lungs.

When I opened my eyes, my older Brother Micelo stood over me.

“If I could give this to you I would,” he said softly.

I picked up my sword from where it had fallen and rushing towards him yelled.

“Liar!”

Axel’s face snapped back into focus as I swung the sword as hard as I could towards his abdomen. I stopped short and his eyes were wide with surprise. I stood frozen trying to regain control over my breathing, I could feel my back starting to ache as tears swelled in my eyes. Axel reached for me.

“Prince Dorian, perhaps we should take a break.”

I let my sword drop to the floor taking in deep breaths, this hadn’t helped at all, it only had brought up other painful memories.

Out of nowhere we heard a loud shattering noise come from the hallway, and people started to yell. Axel had closed the door when we came in and now we both stared at it as something banged into it. Axel cautiously stepped in front of me his real sword drawn now, the door swung open and a maid with black hair came running in, she tripped over something laying in front of the door, Axel moved quickly to help her stand up.

Once she moved inside the room I could see that it was a Delgurany guard laying there on the floor, blood had begun to pour out of his wound on his neck.

“They’re coming!” she cried hysterically.

When finally snapped out of it, I reached for my sword on the floor as Axel helped her inside.

“Who is?” The maid’s body shook, and the bottom of her blue dress was stained with red blood turning the fabric purple.

I took her from Axel and led her to a chair as he shut the door. She sat down and smoothed down her shoulder length black hair, she looked so familiar I couldn’t put my finger on it. Until I gasped out.

“You were the Lady who was sitting next to Princess Everose at the banquet!”

I remembered seeing her in a stunning white gown, diamonds glittering on her throat and ears. She looked at me then finally seeing me and said,

“The rebels are here, they’re going to kill us all.”

I looked to Axel just as the door busted open, too large brutes came in. They wore black and red the colors of the kingdom Carastil.

“Disgusting Ardelia filth.” I saw Axel flinch at these words, but I was offended.

“I am not trash; do you not know who I am? I am Prince Dorian Landon William of Rimerona, second in line for the crown.”

They looked at each other and shrugged obviously not caring I got into a guarded position in front of the maid.

“Don’t move from behind me.”

I called to Axel, “Axel, don’t die.”

Axel nodded in agreement.

I didn’t take my eyes off one of the large men walking towards me as the other sauntered towards Axel, he swung his sword at Axel just as the man in front of me swung it at me. We began to fight, I couldn’t help but smirk, this was my area of expertise, I was a fighter. Being second in line for the crown when my older brother was studying king duties I was devoting my life to military, learning everything I could about strategies and weapons.

I would spend hours fighting guards. I challenged my brother almost every day, but he told me he didn’t have time. I could feel my rage building again and it made me fight even harder. My blows became deadly until finally my blade found his throat and cut a long red stripe across. He fell to his knees making gurgling noises.

I looked to where Axel was and saw he was gone as well as his opponent.

“Maid, where did they go?”

The girl was staring at the body lying on the floor, I came up and crouched right in front of her.

“What is your name?” Her eyes snapped to mine. She had almost the same color blue as I did. I could feel her pain and anguish over seeing all that she had seen in a just a few moments.

“Veryan” she breathed I grabbed her hand, it was cold and clammy “Veryan? Good and what do you do here at the castle.”

She started to shake but then I saw a little life come back to them as she was saying.

“I am princess Everose’s lady in waiting.”

Panic over took her and she scrambled up pushing past me, racing for the door.

“I must go to her!” I grabbed her hand and pinned her down with my eyes. “Do you even know where she was?”

She slowly shook her head, I marched over to the door still holding her hand and looked out into the hallway. It was empty.

“Axel?” I hissed out, no one responded so I turned to her. “We’re going to find Everose, which way to her room.”

She points left and I check the hallway one more time then we dart out avoiding bodies, I’m jittery and can feel my muscles tensing. I’m unsure of our direction and find myself disoriented.

Veryan felt my steps slow pulled out of my grasp and went sprinting down the corridor and made a sharp right. I kept pace with her easily and we finally arrived, she hesitated at the door and I pushed it open holding my sword in front of us. A man in a black cloak turned around to face us.

Veryan let out a yelp and darted behind me. He’s taller than me and he looked stronger too. I realized as he came closer that one of his eyes wasn’t looking at me it’s more askew, it must be a fake. I let the thought of this advantage fuel my fire.

He pulled out a sword from his cloak and held it toward me.

“Death to all of Delgurany.”

He must think I am from here, I take the offense and swing at him first, he didn’t expect that. I yelled at Veryan as I pushed him farther into the room

“Find Everose!” She paused for a moment and seeing that I was distracted the rebel’s blade cuts my leg before I was able to deflect it completely. I hissed in pain and return my full attention to him. He laughed and spit toward my boots.

“I’ve already been all through this room ain’t no princess here. Maybe someone has already done away with her.”

I swung hard and a red line bloomed across his shirt, he let out a raging roar and swung his sword harder and faster. I kept up with him, deflecting his blows. He backed me into a corner and our swords became locked if he slipped I’ll land a blow on his neck, if mine slipped he’ll do the same. I gritted my teeth and tried to blink the sweat out of my eyes, my golden curls were matted to my face. Suddenly I saw a flash of black hair and heard Veryan scream.

“Close your eyes!” I saw a glass pitcher raised above the rebel’s head and I turned my face away as she smashed it over his head. I felt his weight leave from against my sword and I opened my eyes.

Veryan looks stunned as if she didn’t register what she was doing.

“Oh, goddess did I kill him?” she whispered. I stared at his body on the floor for a moment. His chest lifted up gently.

“No, you’ve only stunned him. Get me something to tie him up with.” I looked up surveying the room for something useful, Veryan scurried around until she went to the curtains and pulled at the cord that had been holding them back. I bound his hands and legs together, pulling the cord tight to make sure he can’t get lose.

I stood up and tried to catch my breath, Veryan started to rush around the room looking in all the hiding spots for Everose. She walked over to the wall, glanced at me a moment before pushing on a secret button in the wall. The panel slides, back revealing nothing but a long dark corridor. Veryan looked defeated

“I-” she stammered, “I had hoped that she would be in there.”

She slid the panel close and sat on the bed. She covered her eyes with her hands trying to take deep breaths. I cleared my throat.

“I believe we should keep moving. See if others need help. If you’d like”

I picked up the tall brute’s sword and walked towards her. She stood up as I handed it to her and the weight pulled her forward, she stumbled into my chest I held onto her arms so that she didn’t fall over, my chest tingled where she touched me, and my voice went a little gruff.

“I’ll help you barricade the doors and you can use this in case anyone gets in.”

I look down and see that her pale ice blue eyes are staring up at me. I walked over and pushed the wall and the panel slid open.

“Where does it lead?” my voice drifted into the darkness.

“Into the throne room.” she said a little more confidently. I drag the man out into the hallway and then help Veryan pile a dresser and vanity in front of the door. Veryan picked the sword back up and looked nervously at the corridor.

“Don’t worry, I promise I’ll come back for you.” I say, as I ran into the tunnel.

Veryan slid the panel closed behind me and the air turned cold. I kept a good pace, listening for even the slightest movement. I drew my sword and held it in front of me, so that anything there would have hit my sword before it hit me. My sword jabbed into something hard, I was caught off guard, so my hand slid off the hilt and it hit me in my stomach, I let out a grunt and step closer only to find I’m at the end of the tunnel, I felt around on the walls for a switch to open the door. The walls were soft to the touch, a smile quickly touches my lips at the thought that even secret passage ways were fit for royalty.

Suddenly I heard muffled shouts through the wall, and I think the sound of swords clashing. My hand become frantic, searching desperate for a way to help the others, finally I brushed over an indent in the wall, I quickly applied a little pressure and the door slid open. Bright light blinded me for a moment.

I quickly blinked and heard swords smash against each other. I looked to the sound and saw King Ashur in combat with a man. He looked just like the others I fought. Guards bodies were strewn across the floor. Queen Melena was on the ground, her left arm in a position that didn’t look normal at all.

I’m stunned for a moment at the scene before me, King Ashur saw me and yelled.

“Protect the queen!”

His adversaries took his moment of distraction and swung hard at King Ashur, he dodged and ended the fight, the man from Carastil crumples to the ground. I start to walk towards the king and queen when I hear movement. Everything from this moment goes into slow motion. I saw the queen look from the king to a man raising his blade at her. I started to run, but I couldn’t get my legs to work, I let out a scream as the sword pierced the queen’s chest. King Ashur howled her name and turns to raises his sword at the man who killed his wife.

Suddenly my legs are working again, I’m at the king’s back ready to protect him, as I hear his sword swing and the thud of something hitting the ground, a few seconds later another thud. I turn to see the body of the man who killed the queen laying on the ground, his lifeless head staring at his own dead corpse. There was one other rebel in the room, looks like he was going to throw up, he turned around and tried to scramble out of the room, but I tackled him and knocked him unconscious.

I slowly turned to King Ashur, he was holding Queen Melena in his arms. Her eyes were dark and red blood stained her dress. Her chest was barely moving, she didn’t need much air. She reached up and touched the king’s cheek as she whispered.

“We knew this would come one day.”

With those words she was gone. King Ashur held her and began to shake as he cried. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, like I should not be there, I looked around the throne room their country’s flag still hung proudly on the wall right above the doors.

I quietly slipped out in search of anyone that may have needed me. I couldn’t shake what I just saw, I could feel this will become a recurring nightmare. I heard a commotion outside and I raced towards the front courtyard. As I busted the doors open, I saw that damn guard Hayther riding up with Princess Everose on his horseback. Other’s followed him a man was tied up a prisoner I assumed. Guards shouted about where to bring the prisoner, I overheard one guard talk about doing a patrol to make sure all of the rebels were caught. I volunteered myself to help, anything to get away from the limp body of the Everose.

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